To ensure that there will be no fake coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in the market, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the vials containing the shots will be crushed so they cannot be reused.
Nograles made the statement as the government prepares for the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX Facility next week.
In an interview with State-run PTV-4, Nograles explained that used COVID-19 vaccine vials will be immediately crushed so these could not be recycled.
“Immediately after magamit yung vial, kailangan durugin para walang mare-recycle at gagamitin pangloko ng ibang tao (Immediately after the vial is emptied, it has to be crushed so no one can recycle it and use it to fool the people),” he said on Wednesday, February 10.
“Baka merong enterprising diyan na illegal na lalagyan ng tubig ‘yan tapos ibebenta sa black market na exorbitant din ang presyo (There might be someone who will illegally place water in the vials and then sell them in the black market for an exorbitant price),” he added.
The government is expecting the arrival of 117,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech from the COVAX facility next week.
Fake vaccine offers
Nograles warned the public not to believe those who are claiming to have supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Wala pa tayong bakuna right now dito sa bansang Pilipinas. Sa kung merong nag-aalok sa inyo, that means illegal yun (We don’t have any vaccine here in the Philippines yet so if there is someone who will offer one to you, that is illegal),” he said.
“It’s very easy to determine na fake and illegal ‘yan kasi sa point and time ngayon, wala pa tayong vaccine. Lahat ‘yan na umaalok sa inyo, lahat ‘yan peke (It’s very easy to determine that a vaccine is fake and illegal because we don’t have vaccines yet. So any offer you will receive is fake),” he added.
The Palace official urged the public to not risk their health for a supposed COVID-19 vaccine.
“Hindi pa namin ma-guarantee sa inyo kung ano ang nilalaman ng vial na ‘yan kung tubig ba ‘yan, ice water ba ‘yan, or alcohol ba ‘yan (We cannot guarantee the contents of the vial that will be offered to you. It can be water, ice water, or alcohol),” Nograles.
He added that the vaccines are not for sale and can only be obtained through the government. The government has also set priority groups for its vaccination program.
“Kung may nag-aalok sa ‘yo at hindi ka naman medical at health frontliners, peke ‘yon (If someone offered you a vaccine and you are not a medical or health frontliner, then that is fake),” he said.
The government has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) to two vaccine brands– Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca. The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is intended for healthcare workers.