The National Task Force Against Covid-19 will not take cases of illegal vaccine sales sitting down.
NTF chief implementer, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., assured there will be punishment for those caught making profits out of coronavirus disease 2019 jabs.
“The NTF is taking this matter seriously. We will ensure that a thorough investigation on the matter is conducted and those involved will be penalized under Republic Act 11525, or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021,” Galvez said in a statement.
The Covid-19 vaccines only have Emergency Use Authorization and cannot be sold commercially.
Galvez condemned the illicit commercialization of the jabs, noting that it will not only jeopardize the vaccination program but could also put Filipinos at risk.
“We believe that this type of unscrupulous activity does not only hamper the efficient and effective rollout of our national vaccination program but also puts our countrymen in danger with the selling and eventual use of unverified anti-Covid vaccines,” he said.
The NTF is coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence Unit, Philippine National Police, and Food and Drug Administration as they go after the brains behind the illegal activity.
On Wednesday, nurse Alexis Francisco de Guzman of Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila, was arrested, along with Kour Singh and Calvin Roca.
They were caught by NBI agents selling 300 doses of Sinovac jabs in Quezon City, allegedly to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators workers.
“We already identified the lot numbers of the vaccines and a combined follow-up operation is now being conducted to apprehend the offenders,” Galvez said.
He said the government provides safe, effective, and free vaccines for all.
“We encourage the public to report these kinds of illicit activities so that we bring to justice those who are involved,” he added.
So far, the Philippines has 17,455,470 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines in its stockpile, with over 11 million doses already administered nationwide.
The government expects the delivery of more than 13 million doses this month and 13.6 million doses in August.*PNA