September 30, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration has warned the public against buying anti-Covid-19 vaccines from online platforms and social media market places, saying there are no legitimate vaccines sold online.

In an advisory issued on Sept. 29, the FDA warned that online selling of vaccines is a scam that targets buyers, especially overseas Filipino workers and those who have preferences on the brand.

Among the vaccine brands offered online  are AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna at prices ranging from P10,000 to P20,000.

According to the FDA, unscrupulous sellers offer the vaccines at buy two-take one deal. Once a buyer bites the bait, the seller sends a private message and gives a private contact number usually Viber, WeChat, or WhatsApp.

Before the arrangement for the supposed delivery is made, the buyer is asked to pay through GCash or bank transfer.

After the payment for the vaccine, another person will send a private message asking for settlement of courier or delivery fee, which when paid will be followed by a message from a different person asking for payment of an insurance fee. No vaccine is delivered after the fees are settled.

The FDA warned the public to be vigilant against the scam and reiterated all vaccines available in the country are under Emergency Use Authorization and are given by the government for free.

Citing a warning from the International Police Organization (Interpol), the FDA said there are no legitimate vaccines sold on the Internet and those obtaining from online sellers are buying a fake product.

“The marketing and sale of any Covid-19 vaccine in the country is prohibited and punishable by law,” the FDA stated in its advisory.

“The safety and quality of vaccines purchased unlawfully cannot be guaranteed as these may be counterfeit or have not been transported in the right temperature. Counterfeit or spoiled vaccines may result in serious harm or injury and may lead to death.”

The FDA asked local government units and law enforcement agencies to also ensure no vaccines are sold or made available in the market in their areas of jurisdiction.

It also asked the Bureau of Customs to prevent the entry of unauthorized Covid-19 vaccines to the country.

To report any sale or distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the public was advised to email [email protected] and report any suspected adverse drug reaction to – Jane B. Cadalig