Two fully vaccinated Quezon City residents had, last week, availed themselves a third Covid19 vaccine shot, for which they are now held liable, as millions of Filipinos have still not received even one dose.
According the city government, one had received his second dose of Sinovac in Mandaluyong last May 10, but still procured a Moderna jab last week. The other meanwhile, posted that he had received a Pfizer shot even though he was fully inoculated. The post, which has since been taken down, was proven thanks to screenshots sent to the local government.
Although authorities had voiced dismay at the growing incidence of ‘vaccine hopping’—getting third jabs—they said that this was not illegal. However, City Counsel Orlando Paolo Casimiro said that under Ordinance No. SP-3032, or “An Ordinance Prohibiting Covid19 Vaccine Fraud”, the errant persons could be charged.
“In essence, these people are stealing the vaccines which could save the lives of others, not to mention making a mockery out of the efforts of our frontline workers,” he added. “We will make sure that once proven, these individuals will be punished, to the fullest extent of the law.”
Under the measure, a fully inoculated person “pretending to be unvaccinated for purposes of receiving additional unwarranted inoculations” faces a fine of P5,000 and up to six months detainment.
The two vaccinees have already been charged at the Prosecutor’s Office in an effort to illustrate the seriousness with which the city takes vaccination and pandemic-related programs.
Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Council, consisting of the area’s 17 mayors, approved Resolution No. 21-18, which sought penalties against those behind unauthorized vaccinations.
Quezon City mayor Joy Belmonte, for her part, denounced the act as “greedy and selfish” in light of the finite vaccine supply and the fast-spreading Delta variant.
Apart from the lack of vaccines, the necessity of booster shots for stronger protection is still unproven.
It will be recalled that San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, father to San Juan City mayor Francis Zamora, said that he had received a total of four Covid19 shots since December of last year—two Sinopharm doses and two Pfizer doses.
On the issue, group Bantay Bakuna said that the matter of Zamora’s double vaccinations reveals an abuse of power particularly by government authorities. Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra however said that the issue no longer needs investigation due to the congressman’s admission.
“The question is legal, that’s why we’re studying it,” he said, adding that he still needs to confer with the National Bureau of Investigation if they conducted a probe or not.