Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday warned the public against the proliferation of counterfeit coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.
Panelo made the warning after the Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) notified the public about the faked Covid-19 vaccines which were identified as “BNT162b2” and detected in Mexico in February this year.
During his commentary show “Counterpoint,” Panelo said Covid-19 vaccines can only be administered by authorized vaccination sites in the country.
“Kung merong fake news, may fake bakuna na. Eh kailangan pa rin tayong mag-ingat at kailangan huwag ho tayong maniniwala kung meron mang mag-alok sa inyo na hindi galing sa authorized (If there is fake news, there is fake vaccine. We need to be careful and do not believe anyone who is not authorized to offer vaccines),” he said.
The FDA, in an advisory dated March 30, said it had received reports that the supposed “BNT162b2” vaccine, which was claimed to be manufactured by Washington-based Pfizer BioNTech, “was administered to patients outside the authorized vaccination programs.”
It cautioned that the use of falsified Covid-19 vaccines “poses a serious risk to the global public health and further increases the burden on vulnerable populations and health systems.
Panelo lamented that unscrupulous individuals are using the Covid-19 pandemic to deceive people who want to get inoculated with the vaccine.
“Nag-manufacture sila para makabenta kasi everybody wants to be vaccinated, naghahanap ng mga bakuna. Oh eh ‘di pagkakataon naman ng mga scoundrel. Pagkakataon na nila ito. Maraming kakagat, maraming naniniwala (They manufactured forfeited vaccines because everybody wants to be vaccinated and is looking for a vaccine. Scoundrels are taking advantage. It’s their chance because many will be deceived),” he said.
Despite this, Panelo is confident that FDA will do its best to ensure that there would be no fake Covid-19 vaccines in the country.
“Ang nais ng FDA, ang mga awtoridad lamang ang maaaring tumurok ng bakuna (The FDA wants just the authorized persons to administer the vaccine),” Panelo said.
A total of 2.5 million Covid-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech and 525,600 vaccines from United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca have already been delivered to the Philippines.
The country is expected to receive a total of 1 million doses of the Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine doses on April 22 and April 29.
Around 500,000 vaccines of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine are also expected to arrive this month. (PNA)