Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday said only the Philippine government could purchase and administer Covid-19 vaccines in response to rumors of individual reservations for vaccine shots worth $22 (~P1000) being available to the public.

“We would like to remind the public that only the Philippine government is duly authorized to procure Covid-19 vaccines and administer them,” Galvez said in a statement.

Galvez said his office had received reports that people can reserve a vaccine for $22 before 9 a.m. of Dec. 21, 2020. The shots would allegedly be available by the third quarter of 2021, Galvez said.

“Any other offers of guaranteed access to any of the vaccines is not only illegal, but also life-threatening,” the vaccine czar warned.

Galvez said emergency use authorizations (EUAs) had yet to be issued for any vaccine candidate in the Philippines.

“As such, it should be made clear that none of these vaccines should be sold to the the public pending the issuance of EUAs. All vaccines that are reportedly being sold through the black market are deemed illegal,” he said.

Galvez called on Filipinos to discern information on the Internet: “Let us keep in mind that the spread of false information during this critical time may cost lives.”

The Philippine government’s mass vaccination program is slated for March 2021.

To date, only 2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines have been secured by the country. John Ezekiel J. Hirro