Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday called on the National Task Force for COVID-19 (NTF) to make sure that no fake COVID-19 vaccines will enter the Philippine market.
Hontiveros made the appeal following reports of Chinese authorities confiscating over 3,000 doses of fake vaccines.
The Chinese government had also arrested around 80 people following an operation in Beijing where they seized saline-filled syringes packaged as COVID-19 vaccines, which they suspected would be sold in the international market.
“Our own authorities need to bust any plan to bring those fake vaccines into our shores. Anyone willing to put other people in danger for quick profit should be apprehended and put behind bars,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
Hontiveros also warned the public against getting vaccinated through the black market, and to instead trust in the national government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and get vaccinated through official channels.
“Walang awtorisadong bakuna ang mabibili sa merkado. Hindi ito rehistrado, ligtas, walang tiyak na bisa at maaring peke pa (There are no authorized COVID vaccines that can be bought at the market. These are not registered, safe and no certification or efficacy and could possibly be bogus),” the senator pointed out.
“Engaging in the black market is not only illegal, it is dangerous. Go through the proper government channels,” she urged the public.
At the same time, she said urged the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine National Police to make sure no fake COVID-19 vaccines would get past through the country’s ports.
“We need to keep watch of our borders like bloodhounds. Ni isang pekeng bakuna ay hindi dapat makalusot (Not one fake vaccine should be able to get past through our customs),” she said.
She also said the NTF should reassure the public of the safety of the vaccines by laying down its quality control and security measures “at whatever stage of the procurement.”