QC sues 2 for getting booster shots, cites violation of ordinance | Inquirer News

QC sues 2 for getting booster shots, cites violation of ordinance

By: - Reporter / @MegINQ
/ 05:40 AM August 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government said it had charged two people who had secured a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, even as officials become more vocal in their concern over this undue privilege while millions of Filipinos are still racing to get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the city government, one of the suspects received his second Sinovac dose in Mandaluyong City on May 10, but still availed himself of a Moderna shot in Quezon City last week.

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Another vaccinee who had been fully inoculated with Sinovac posted on social media that he had received a third dose of Pfizer, the city government said, adding that it had received screenshots of the since deleted post.

‘Vaccine fraud’

On Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Enrique Domingo expressed dismay over the increasing recourse to vaccine hopping—with vaccinees endeavoring to get a third jab—but said this was not illegal.

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What then could the two vaccinees be charged with?

City Counsel Orlando Paolo Casimiro cited Ordinance No. SP-3032, series of 2021, also titled “An Ordinance Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud,” which Mayor Joy Belmonte approved on July 29.

Under Section 3 of the ordinance, a fully vaccinated person “pretending to be unvaccinated for purposes of receiving additional unwarranted inoculations” will be fined P5,000 and detained for one month to six months.

The two vaccinees have been charged before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office. This is “to send a strong message that the city government takes the vaccination and other pandemic-related programs very seriously,” Casimiro said in a statement.

Zamora’s four jabs

“In essence, these people are stealing the vaccines which could save the lives of others, not to mention making a mockery out of the efforts of our front-line workers,” he also said.

Belmonte said she vehemently condemned the act, calling the suspects “greedy and selfish.”

“We in the local government are taking this matter seriously. We will not tolerate actions like this especially that a good number of individuals have yet to receive their first vaccine dose, not just in our city but in our country in general,” she said.

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In another city last month, San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora admitted that he was inoculated with a total of four vaccine shots—two administered in December 2020, when the FDA had not yet issued an emergency use authorization on any COVID-19 vaccine.

Zamora made this disclosure at a press conference in Greenhills Shopping Center on July 12, in the presence of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who laughed but did not address the issue further.

Zamora’s son, San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, said in his father’s defense that the congressman’s four jabs were administered “upon doctor’s orders.” Mayor Zamora also cited Congressman Zamora’s other health issues.

On Saturday, the Metro Manila Council, composed of the capital region’s 17 mayors, issued a resolution declaring booster shots to be in violation of the National Immunization Program “and thus detrimental to unvaccinated Filipinos and thereby unnecessarily delaying the realization of population protection.”

The resolution urged all local governments in the capital region to issue ordinances penalizing unauthorized inoculations using government-procured vaccines.

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