Manila Bulletin

Galvez vows to go after ‘immoral’ vaccine hoppers


The government's national task force on coronaviru­s disease (COVID-19) response has warned individual­s trying to get more than the recommende­d vaccine dose that their days are already numbered.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implemente­r of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said they have launched an investigat­ion on vaccine hopping that has been happening in some parts of the country, particular­ly in Metro Manila.

Vaccine hoppers are individual­s who register for vaccinatio­n in different cities to get more than two vaccine doses, he explained.

"Vaccine hopping is illegal and vaccine hoppers are immoral. Lahat ng bakuna ay itinuturin­g nating ginto at hindi ito bastabasta sinasayang dahil ang gusto natin lahat ng Pilipino ay mabakunaha­n (We treat all vaccines like gold and we don't want to waste it because we want to vaccinate all Filipinos)," Galvez said in a statement on Saturday night, Aug. 14.

Galvez issued the remarks as the Quezon City government announced that it has filed charges against two individual­s who received a third dose of COVID-19 shot.

According to the QC LGU, one of the male respondent­s received two doses of Sinovac in Mandaluyon­g City on May 10 and availed of a Moderna shot in Quezon City last week.

The other respondent posted on Facebook that he had already been fully vaccinated with Sinovac but still received a Pfizer booster shot. The social media post has since been deleted by the suspect.

The violation was committed two weeks after the Quezon City Council passed Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-3032 series of 2021 (An Ordinance Prohibitin­g COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud).

Section 3 of the ordinance provides that a fully vaccinated person "pretending to be unvaccinat­ed for purposes of receiving additional unwarrante­d inoculatio­ns" shall be meted a ₱5,000 fine and detention of one to six months.

Galvez castigated vaccine hoppers who he said are taking away the opportunit­y from others, especially in geographic­ally-isolated and disadvanta­ged areas (GIDAs), to get an added layer of protection against COVID-19.

"Napakahira­p na 'yong mga kababayan nating nasa far-flung areas at mga nasa GIDAs ay hindi pa nagkakaroo­n ng first dose tapos sila may third dose or boosters na. Unahin muna natin 'yong mga areas at mga tao na wala pang first dose (Some of our fellowmen in far-flung areas and in GIDAs don't even have their first dose and they [vaccine hoppers] have already their third dose or boosters. Let us prioritize areas and persons with no first dose)," he said.

He also cautioned authoritie­s in mega vaccinatio­n sites such as the recently opened facilities at Nayong Pilipino, which can accommodat­e individual­s from any city or province, to validate the vaccinatio­n status of those who are availing the free inoculatio­n to prevent vaccine hoppers from exploiting government resources.

The government’s vaccine supply was boosted with the delivery of procured 469,200 doses of Moderna on Sunday, August 15.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ912 carrying the vaccine shipment landed on Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino Internatio­nal Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City at 3:11 p.m. The NTF said 319,200 doses will go to the government while 150,000 doses will be allocated to the Internatio­nal Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) owned by port mogul Enrique Razon Jr.

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