Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Saturday has pushed for an investigation and crackdown by concerned government agencies on reported fake coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
This, as Go, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, stressed that those who bring these counterfeit vaccines would be vaccinated with the fake vaccines themselves.
Go assured Filipinos that the government would do its best to protect them and provide sufficient, safe, and effective vaccines provided by legitimate manufacturers and as approved by health experts and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Ako po ay nananawagan sa ating Food and Drug Administration na imbestigahan po ito. Hulihin po ito. Ang BOC (Bureau of Customs), bantayan n’yo pong mabuti. Ang ating kapulisan, ang NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), bantayan n’yong maigi. Hulihin po itong (nagpapakalat ng fake vaccines) na ito,” Go said during an interview right after he personally led the distribution of various kinds of assistance to typhoon victims in Legazpi City, Albay yesterday (I call on our FDA to investigate this. To he Bureau of Customs (BOC), look after it carefully. Our law enforcement agencies, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), have a strict monitoring. Seize these fake vaccines.)
“Alam mo, hindi katanggap-tanggap ang nagpapasok ng peke. Naghihirap na nga ang Pilipino, tapos dadaanin n’yo po sa panloloko. Dapat sa mga manloloko na nananamantala — dapat sa inyo… alam n’yo na,” he added. (The bringing in of fake vaccines is not acceptable. Filipinos are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Then you employ deceit. You know what will happen to you.)
The NBI has been ordered by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra to reinforce its efforts in monitoring and preventing the entry of fake vaccines into the country.
These bogus vaccines are said to be simply filled with saline solution.
Meanwhile, Go said that the first batch of approved vaccines will arrive in the country towards the end of the month. After which, the government will immediately commence subsequent rollouts.
Go said that what is important is for frontliners to be given the first round of vaccines. “They are in the hospitals, They are at risk, they should be protected. The poor who do not know where to get the vaccines must also be the first and the vaccine should be free. And senior citizens, too,” he said.
He added that the government will ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccines to allay fears of many Filipinos.
“Kaya ang mga nasa gobyerno, not because you are the priority, (but because) dapat maipakita natin at kunin natin ang kumpiyansa ng bawat Pilipino bago natin iturok sa ating mga kababayan,” he added. (Those in government, not because you are the priority, should get the confidence of every Filipino before they get vaccinated.)
According to the senator from Davao, around 117,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines and another 5.5 to 9 million AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX are expected to arrive in the country this month.
“Unti-unti po ‘yun. First quarter, may rollout tayo. Second quarter naman po karagdagan naman po, and, finally, hanggang umabot ng fourth quarter ay mabakunahan ang 50 to 70 million Filipinos. ‘Yun po ang target ng ating gobyerno,” he added. (First quarter of the year, there will be a roll out. Second quarter, another roll out. And finally, until the vaccination reaches 50 to 70 million Filipinos. That is the target of the government.)
Go also asked Filipinos to put their trust in the government, assuring them that they will be protected from fake vaccines and their welfare is always being prioritized.