NTF reiterates vaccines free; selling punishable by law

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of Manila-PIO)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of Manila-PIO)

MANILA – The National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 expressed deep concern over reports of illicit selling of anti-coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines, saying it is investigating the matter.

All vaccines procured by the national government and currently being administered only have Emergency Use Authorization and are not for commercial distribution.

Likewise, priority slots are strictly intended, for now, for A1 (medical front-liners), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (with comorbidities aged 18 to 59) groups.

“We would like to remind everyone that anti-Covid vaccines are free for all qualified citizens. They are not for sale. Thus, the selling of vaccines or of the priority slots is deemed illegal and punishable by law,” the NTF said in a statement issued Saturday.

“For those who are engaged in the unauthorized sale of anti-Covid vaccines, we ask you to stop what you are doing. The long arm of the law will soon catch up on you,” the statement added.

The NTF commended local chief executives who took swift action and have taken the necessary steps to address this still unvalidated issue.

They include Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos, who has asked the National Bureau of Investigation’s cybercrime division to conduct a thorough investigation of the matter.

Abalos also called on her people not to patronize the illegitimate activity and report to the Mayor‘s Office at (02) 8534-1662.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora called it a scam and reached out to those who have been victimized by the unlawful scheme. He also urged residents to report those who are engaged in the illegal activity.

“It is our hope that these local leaders will serve as an example to their counterparts throughout the country, and encourage them to take decisive action when the health and welfare of their constituents are at stake,” the NTF stated.

Philippine National Police Chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said Saturday the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group will be coordinating with local government units to investigate the reported selling of Covid-19 vaccination slots and vaccine brands.

The NTF will continue to monitor developments on the investigation being carried out, assuring the public that individuals who are involved in the prohibited scheme will be penalized.

“To reiterate, our vaccines are free and those who will commit fraud and illegal acts of selling and providing priorities and privileged access for financial gains, will be investigated and punished,” it stated. (PR)