Manila, Philippines – Authorities are investigating reports of clandestine online sales of COVID-19 vaccination slots by people believed to have ties to local government units (LGUs).
Entrepreneur Nina Dizon Cabrera shared with the Inquirer her exchange with someone offering to sell immunization slots from the local governments of San Juan and Mandaluyong.
The price of each location depends on the brand of the vaccine: for Sinovac manufactured in China, from 6000 to 8000 P for two doses; The Pfizer vaccine developed in the United States and the British Swedish AstraZeneca sell higher at P 10,000 to P 12,000 per location.
The fees are accompanied by a vaccination schedule and a booklet.
Martin (not his real name) from Las PiÃ±as said his classmate offered to sell vaccination slots in Mandaluyong.
When asked if there would be a problem since he is not a resident of that city and is not one of the priority groups to be vaccinated, his salesperson replied that it was an agreement “under the table”, and that he could do it because of “privilege”.
The price for two doses of Pfizer is fixed at P12,500 for those he knew and up to P 15,000 for those he did not know personally.
Both Cabrera and Martin vendors claim they were linked to people within their local governments.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to seven COVID-19 vaccines, including the four brands currently in use: Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sputnik V.
âGranting the EUA is not a marketing authorization or a product registration certificate, so it cannot be used to market the vaccine,â the FDA said.
“If it is true, we will file a complaint”
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Philippine National Police to investigate the reports. , said in a message.
In a statement released Friday, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora denied any involvement of city government staff in an alleged payroll vaccine program circulating on social media.
“Whoever claims to have a contact within the City of San Juan LGU selling our vaccine slots is spreading a scam, which members of the City of San Juan vaccination team are not a part of,” he said. Zamora said.
âThis is a scam to defraud people for something that the government is offering free to its citizens,â he said.
The mayor said the city uses an online system, in which citizens who wish to be vaccinated can register, and only those who have registered have been queued.
âWe have contacted the person who posted this message so that we can take the necessary action against this person claiming to have access to our vaccination program for a fee,â Zamora said.
Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos on Friday urged people who know anything about the alleged scheme to notify the city government.
âAll COVID-19 vaccines that are given to residents and non-residents who work in Mandaluyong are free,â she said.
“Sign up for Mandavaxx, it will be free,” she added.
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