Expert: Stay away from 'dangerous' unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27)— A health expert warns the public to "stay away" from unauthorized COVID-19 vaccines amid the supposed presence of a Chinese-developed product in the country.

"To take an unapproved, unregulated vaccine is very, very dangerous," Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group said in a media forum on Sunday. "I urge everyone to stay away from those, kasi (because) you are literally putting your life at risk if you take unregulated medicine, especially COVID vaccine."

During Saturday's meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force and other health experts, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that "many" citizens in the country have already been injected with China's Sinopharm vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration said raids have been conducted in Makati and Binondo, adding that no arrests have been made so far.

Salvana listed down the possible dangers of taking an unapproved vaccine, including lack of knowledge about the injected product, which he said would make it difficult for physicians to treat patients who may experience negative reactions.

"Say if you have a bad reaction. You don't even know kung ano 'yung binigay sayo eh (what was given to you)? So we wouldn't know what to treat you with," Salvana said. "So there's really a lot of danger in doing those kinds of things. More than losing money, you could lose your life."

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, meanwhile, refused to comment further on Duterte's statement.

"Hindi po ako makapagsalita nang kumpleto patungkol dito dahil iyon lang din pong narinig niyo ang narinig ko (I cannot fully talk about this because I only heard what you heard)," Duque said in the same press conference.

Reports of alleged coranavirus vaccination activities in Binondo first surfaced earlier this month, with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordering a probe on the matter. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin Jr. also said he has received a complaint from China regarding the reported presence of the vaccine in the country.