MANILA— The Quezon City government on Thursday warned individuals involved in illegal acts in relation to the city's COVID-19 vaccination drive may face jail time or fines.
The city has approved an ordinance penalizing such acts following reports of the fraudulent sale and administration of the anti-virus jabs, tampering of vaccination cards and offering fake COVID-19 vaccines.
"This should serve as a warning to those who want to take advantage of the city’s vaccination program through illegal means. We won’t take your illegal acts sitting down and we will go after you with the full force of the law," Mayor Joy Belmonte said in a statement.
The ordinance aims to "thwart any illegal attempt to capitalize on the COVID-19 vaccination program," the city government said.
Under the measure, the following acts are prohibited:
- Misrepresenting any information requested by authorities in relation to vaccination, including the information indicated in the vaccine card, for purposes of obtaining undue benefits or privileges
- Sale, advertisement, distribution, solicitation, or administration of COVID-19 vaccines for profit and commercial purposes without any authorization or permit issued by the Food and Drug Administration
- Purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, whether from a private individual or a government official/employee, without any authority, issued by the FDA
- Sale, advertisement, distribution, solicitation, or administration of fake or adulterated COVID-19 vaccines
- Sale of COVID-19 vaccine slot/s originally reserved by the person applying for the same to others for the purpose of substituting someone other than the original and supposed applicant
- Purchasing COVID-19 vaccine slot/s, whether from a private individual or a government official/employee
- Misrepresentation of vaccine status for purposes of fraud or deceit, including a fully vaccinated person pretending to be unvaccinated for purposes of receiving additional inoculations
- Commission of any other deceit or fraud in relation to the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program
The city government said violators could face a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 months or both.
If the offense is committed by a firm, partnership, corporation or other juridical entity, the chief executive officer, president, general manager or such other officer-in-charge will be held liable, it added.
Violators may also be charged for violating Republic Act 9771 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 1991, the Revised Penal Code and other applicable laws.
As of Aug. 4, Quezon City has administered over 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Of those, more than 934,000 were first shots while over 592,000 have completed the double-dose vaccination.