Palace warns vs. illegal sale of COVID-19 shots, vaccine slots

Published May 24, 2021, 2:54 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said those proven to be selling coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines and slots in vaccination areas may face prison time as these acts are illegal under Philippine laws.

MB FILE PHOTO (Juan Carlo de Vela)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement following reports of some individuals offering vaccines and vaccination slots for as much as P15,000 depending on the brand of the shot.

In his press briefing on Monday, Roque said selling COVID-19 vaccines was illegal because the shots were not cleared for commercial use.

“‘Yan po ay pinagbabawal. Wala pong bakuna na binebenta dahil wala pa pong bakuna na binigyan ng commercial use (That is prohibited. No vaccines are for sale because no vaccines have been given a commercial use approval yet),” he said.

“Lahat po ‘yan ay hindi dapat ibenta dahil lahat po ‘yan ay nasa emergency use pa lamang. Hindi pa po tapos ‘yan sa fourth clinical trial (They should not be sold because the vaccines were allowed only for emergency use. They have not completed the fourth phase of clinical trials yet),” he added.

According to Roque, the sale of COVID-19 vaccines is also illegal under existing laws.

“Kapag kayo po ay nahuli na nagbebenta ng bakuna na wala pang commercial use, pupwede po kayong makulong sang-ayon po sa batas na nagbuo ng Food and Drug Administration sa Pilipinas kasi meron po ‘yang tinatawag na penal clause (If you are caught selling vaccines without commercial use approval, you can be imprisoned under the law that created the FDA because it has this thing called penal clause),” he said.

The Palace official added that those selling vaccination slots can also be held liable for deception.

“‘Yon namang mga nagbebenta ng slot, ‘yan po ay pinagbabawal din natin at pupwede rin tayong maprosecute para doon sa paglilinlang na krimen (To those selling jab slots, that is also prohibited and you can be prosecuted for the crime of deception),” Roque said.

“Wala naman pong karapatan ang kahit sino para magbenta ng kanilang slot (Nobody has the right to sell their slots),” he added.

Meanwhile, Roque reiterated that vaccine shots against COVID-19 are free in the country.

More than 2.5 million people have so far received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine since the country rolled out its vaccination program on March 1.

To date, the Philippines has reported 1,179,812 COVID-19 cases, 19,951 of whom died while 1,109,226 recovered.