MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday urged local government units (LGUs) to pass an ordinance that will punish individuals involved in the illegal sale of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and slots in local vaccination areas.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the appeal in a virtual press conference, amid the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) investigation into the supposed sale of either Covid-19 vaccine shots or vaccine slot for financial gain.
“Ang panawagan nga po namin sa mga lokal na pamahalaan ay kung pupuwede po magpasa rin sila ng ordinansa na nagpapataw ng parusa doon sa magbebenta ng slots, para malinaw po na mayroon tayong legal na basehan para parusahan ang mga taong gumagawa nito (Our appeal to local governments is to pass an ordinance that will impose penalty on those selling slots so we have legal basis to punish them),” Roque said.
Roque told the public that Covid-19 vaccines cannot be sold because these are not cleared for commercial use.
Hence, the sale of Covid-19 vaccines is illegal and violates the country’s law, Roque said.
“Wala pang bakuna na covered ng commercial use authorization. Ibig sabihin, dahil wala pa pong commercial use, hindi pupuwedeng ibenta dahil lahat po ng mga bakuna ay nasa experimental use authorization pa lamang (No vaccine has been covered by commercial use authorization. Meaning, all vaccines cannot be sold because they are still covered by the experimental use authorization),” he said.
The Philippines has approved for emergency use at least seven brands of Covid-19 vaccines, including the United States’ Pfizer and China’s Sinovac.
The PNP has received reports that some individuals are offering vaccines and vaccination slots for as much as PHP15,000, depending on the vaccine brand.
‘Best’ vax is ‘the one available’
The Social Weather Stations (SWS), in its April 28 to May 2 survey, found 63 percent of adult Filipinos prefer Covid-19 vaccines manufactured by the US.
Following the US are China (19 percent), Japan and Australia (13 percent each), the United Kingdom (13 percent), and Canada and Russia (12 percent each).
Obtaining single-digit scores are Germany (8 percent), South Korea (6 percent), and India (3 percent).
When it comes to specific vaccine brand, Filipinos’ top pick is Sinovac (39 percent), followed by Pfizer (32 percent), AstraZeneca (22 percent), and Johnson & Johnson (10 percent).
Covid-19 vaccine brands that obtained single-digit scores include Moderna (7 percent); CureVac, Sinopharm, Novavax, and Sanofi (3 percent each); and Gamaleya (2 percent).
Roque said Filipinos choosing Covid-19 vaccines developed by the US is understandable because ‘they admire more the stateside.”
He, however, maintained that the “best” vaccine is “the one available.”
“Kung bibigyan ng pagkakataon na mabakunahan, piliin na ang mabakunahan para maprotektahan natin ang ating sarili, ang ating pamilya at ang ating komunidad (Grab the chance to be vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, and the community),” he said. “Ang iniiwasan natin ay ang maospital o ang mamatay. Ito ang goal ng ating mass vaccination, ang population protection (What we are avoiding is for you to be hospitalized or die. Our goal is mass vaccination and population protection).”
Avoid ‘super spreader events’
Roque also reiterated his appeal to the public to avoid “super spreader” events.
He made the call to achieve the government’s herd immunity goal by year-end.
“Kaunting tulog na lang po, magkakaroon na tayo ng vaccine protection eh bakit naman ngayon pa kayo pupunta sa mga super spreader event (We will soon have vaccine protection so why would you have to go to super spreader events)?” Roque said.
The Philippines aims to inoculate up to 70 million Filipinos this year. (PNA)