Authorities probe illegal COVID-19 vaccine slot sale

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2021 03:56 PM | Updated as of May 25 2021 01:47 PM

Authorities probe illegal COVID-19 vaccine slot sale 1
Health workers administer the COVID19 vaccine during an inoculation program at the San Juan Arena on March 30, 2021. The city government of San Juan has allocated 103 vials of AstraZeneca vaccines for 1,030 senior citizens, and 1,669 doses of SinoVac vaccines for health workers and adults with comorbidities. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — Authorities have identified at least one person behind the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccines and slots in local vaccination drives, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Monday.

Based on an initial investigation, the police identified one person who offered his high school friend 2 brands of COVID-19 vaccine, priced at P12,000 to P15,500, through a messaging app, Eleazar said.

The same person, Eleazar said, also claimed to have contacts in the city governments of San Juan and Mandaluyong, which was why he could "easily get vaccines and even guarantee slots for the vaccination."

"[Our] investigators are now zeroing in on this person, although he has already deactivated all his social media accounts," Eleazar said.

"We assure the public that he will face the full force of the law for this kind of illegal activity," he added.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora earlier said there was no such sale in his area of jurisdiction.

Eleazar urged the public to report to the police any illegal sale of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination slots.

The Department of Justice also tasked the National Bureau of Investigation on Monday to look into the alleged sale of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination slots.

Over the weekend, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 said it launched an investigation after receiving reports that there have been sales of vaccines or vaccination priority slots in Mandaluyong and San Juan.

The government started the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccination program last March 1, using so far products developed by Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Institute and Pfizer.

As of Saturday, 4,097,425 doses have been administered in different parts of the country, of which, 3,147,486 are first doses and 949,939 are second doses.

At least 58 million are being targeted for inoculation this year to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.

The Philippines' total COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,184,706 on Monday, of which, 48,917 or 4.1 percent are active.

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