Gordon: Deport POGO workers who received ‘smuggled’ COVID-19 vaccines

Foreigners who received unregistered coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines should be punished and sent home to their respective countries.

This is the call of Sen. Richard Gordon, Wednesday, after it was reported that 100,000 Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) workers – mostly Chinese – had been vaccinated without authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“There’s a law. They’re foreigners, they come in here, they should [be vaccinated] within what the law requires and if they don’t do that, they’re in violation and they can be deported,” Gordon said in an ANC interview.

“And if there’s success, [in the vaccine], I don’t care, they violated the law. As simple as that.”

Teresita Ang See, president of the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies, revealed that up to 100 thousand  in the Philippines, mostly POGO workers, have been vaccinated with the .

It was found out that the vaccination of POGO workers in the Philippines started in November in a single batch of 200,000 doses.

Gordon: Deport POGO workers who received ‘smuggled’ COVID-19 vaccines

Ang See stressed that the vaccine against COVID-19 that was injected into Chinese POGO workers as well as members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) came from legitimate or official channels.

Under Republic Act 9711, or FDA Act of 2009, manufacturing, importation, importation, sale, distribution, non-consumer use, etc. of unregistered FDA vaccines are prohibited.

Despite that, Malacañang is defending the use of unauthorized vaccines by members of the Presidential Security Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and some Cabinet staff.

“They’ve been violating the law left and right, I have nothing against the Chinese… but when it comes to something that the public is going to use, the law requires that there be testing done by the FDA, certification by the FDA,” Gordon added.

“Any health product must be registered with the FDA before it can be imported, distributed, used, and administered. Here they used it, and they administered it and they distributed it, all in violation of the law.”

The FDA said they can give some small groups “compassionate special permits (CSPs)” to use drugs such as COVID-19 vaccines.