COVID-19 vaccines that were authorized for emergency use in the Philippines cannot be sold commercially, the Department of Health said Wednesday as it warned against individuals claiming to sell the sought-after drugs.
The grant of emergency use authorization to certain vaccines is not equivalent to product registration or authorization for commercial sale, the DOH said, emphasizing that "the marketing and sale of any COVID-19 vaccine in the country is currently prohibited and punishable by law."
"...the public is cautioned against anyone who claims to sell or offer any COVID-19 vaccine," the DOH said in a statement.
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Buying COVID-19 vaccines illegally can also result in serious harm to one's health, the DOH said, citing the lack of quality assessment by health authorities.
"The public is reminded that counterfeit or spoiled vaccines may result in serious harm or injury, even death," the health department added.
So far, only two COVID-19 vaccines have been granted authorization for emergency use by the local Food and Drug Administration. These are the ones made by Pfizer and BioNTech, and AstraZeneca.
Malacañang said the government aims to begin the country's mass COVID-19 immunization program on Feb. 15 with the expected arrival of Pfizer vaccines courtesy of COVAX, a global alliance meant to ensure equitable access to vaccines.
First in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines are health workers, particularly those in public hospitals that are functioning as referral stations for virus cases.