Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo on Tuesday said the inoculation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s security group with unregistered Covid-19 vaccines was illegal and that Sinopharm had yet to apply for emergency use authorization in the country.

On Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque claimed it was not against the law to receive Covid-19 vaccines that had yet to be approved by local regulators.

But Domingo and Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed in a press briefing that the military’s vaccination drive was illegal.

“Ipinagbabawal po ang pagbebenta, pagdi-distribute, pagdi-dispense ng hindi registered na bakuna at ongoing na po ang ating investigation,” Domingo said.

“The DOH (Department of Health) and FDA maintain na ang gagamitin lang nating bakuna should be authorized by the FDA to ensure that it is safe, of quality and is going to give protection to the public. We are maintaining our position that we will only use those products registered with the FDA,” Vergeire added.

GMA News Online reported on Tuesday, citing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, that it has been more than a month since the PSG personnel received the vaccine shots.

In an earlier statement, the FDA that said without proper authorization, “there is no guarantee on the safety, quality and efficacy” of vaccines.

It also said that the manufacturing, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertisement or sponsorship of any unauthorized vaccine was prohibited.

“Commission of such prohibited acts may lead to possible liabilities provided under the law. The FDA will coordinate with other agencies and take appropriate regulatory action involving any unauthorized vaccines,” the drug regulator warned.

However, both Domingo and Vergeire said they could not determine who gave the go-signal for the vaccination.

“Katulad po ng sinabi ni Undersecretary Domingo, hindi namin alam kung si presidente talaga ang nagbigay ng order na magpabakuna. Wala namang sinabing ganoong information. Inaantay pa natin ang full details. We do not have any information on what transpired here,” Vergeire said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro