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It's a Scam, Don't Add to Cart COVID Vaccines on Lazada, Shopee: FDA

The fraudsters are preying on OFWS who need certain brands.
by Pia Regalado
5 hours ago
Photo/s: Mike Segar, Reuters

Don't add to cart purported COVID-19 vaccines from online platforms like Shopee and Lazada, the Food and Drug Administration warned the public on Thursday. Such jabs are free and are not yet authorized for commercial sale, it said.

The FDA raised the alarm after discovering links to "original" COVID-19 vaccines, like AstraZeneca and Moderna, that are being sold from P10,000 to P20,000. Some offers include a "buy two, get one" deal, the regulator said.

"The public is advised that this is a scam which uses online platforms and social media to attract buyers specially those who have preference on the brand of vaccines specifically our countrymen who work abroad (OFWs)," it said in a statement.

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The scam works like this, according to the FDA. When the customer places an order via the online platform, the seller will send a chat message with his private contact number, usually Viber, WeChat, or WhatsApp.

The customerwill be told to settle the payment via GCash or bank transfer prior to arrangement of delivery. After payment, a different person will ask for courier or delivery fee. Once its paid, another person will ask for insurance fee payment.

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No vaccine will be delivered even after all the dues have been settled, FDA said.

The regulator said all COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines remain under emergency use authorization, meaning the jabs cannot be sold anywhere in the country.

These vaccines -- AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac, Sputnik V, Janssen, Covaxin, Moderna, Sinopharm -- are given only by the government for free.

While the FDA said there are no counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines in the country, it cannot guarantee the safety and quality of vaccines on sale in online platforms. Scammers could also be selling spoiled vaccines which may result in injury or even death.

To report any sale or distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, you may send FDA an email at [email protected].


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