MANILA (UPDATE) — Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said Wednesday that actor Mark Anthony Fernandez has "comorbidities" that made him eligible to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination next to medical frontliners and senior citizens.
In an interview with ANC, Olivarez addressed social media posts showing the actor getting an AstraZeneca jab, with some questioning the inoculation amid limited supply supposedly for frontliners.
"Kinausap ko po 'yung ating city health office Dr. Olga Virtusio regarding the issue of Mark Anthony Fernandez and according to her 'yung tumingin sa kaniyang doktor, siya ay may comorbidities. At alam naman po nating nagkaroon ng depression si Mark, ibig sabihin niyan he's qualified as the next priority after frontliners," Olivarez told ANC.
(We talked to our city health officer and she said that the actor has comorbidities, according to his doctor. We all know that he went through depression, which means he's qualified to be part of the priority groups.)
In a separate interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, the local chief executive said Fernandez supposedly has depression and hypertension, which falls under the list of comorbidities. This, therefore, made him qualified to get the vaccine jab.
"Alam naman po natin sa public knowledge, 'yung depression ni Mark 'di ba? Alam po natin all over. At mayroon pong hypertension 'yung tao according sa ating medical team na nag-inoculate sa kanya," he explained.
(It is public knowledge that Mark has depression. It is known. He also has hypertension according to our medical team who administered the vaccine to him.)
"Alam naman natin na may nangyari sa insidente sa kanya sa Pampanga. Nagkaroon po siya ng depression. Depression po is a [comorbidity]. At sinabi ng ating medical team na mayroon siyang hypertension," he added, noting that he was not consulted on the matter.
(We all know what happened to him in Pampanga. He has depression, which is a comorbidity. Our medical team said he also has hypertension.)
He also emphasized that the people who showed up for the city's vaccination rollout, especially if they were screened with comorbidities, were given COVID-19 vaccines after medical frontliners.
The vaccines must also be administered as soon as possible so they won't go to waste, according to the mayor.
Under the priority list of the Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) for vaccinations, "[p]ersons with comorbidities" are next in line after medical frontliners and senior citizens.
Government is not yet finished with the inoculation of some 1.7 million health care workers in the country.
The actor's vaccination came to public light amid uproar over the early COVID-19 inoculation of some politicians while vaccine supply remains limited in the country.
Olivarez, who also serves as head of the Metro Manila Council composed of the region's city and town mayors, said they have begun inoculating senior citizens and residents with comorbidities since almost all of their frontliners have received their COVID-19 jabs.
"Almost all of our 3,800 frontliners, medical, halos tapos na po kami, more than 92 to 95 percent na po ang aming na-inoculate na frontliner so sumusunod na po kami sa priority category, 'yan po 'yung senior citizens," he said, adding they were compliant with Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.
(We're almost done in inoculating our frontliners so we did not violate the list. We're just moving into the next category.)
Olivarez said they did not violate any government guidelines in inoculating the actor.
"Mabilis 'yung ating vaccination (the vaccination was fast)... We did not violate the guidelines of DOH," he said.
"Wala po kaming nilalabag, 'yung ating mga vaccination team po sinunod nila ang procedure ng prioritization ng vaccine," he added in an interview on Teleradyo.
(We did not violate anything. Our vaccination team followed the procedure for the vaccine prioritization.)
According the mayor, depending on the supply to be allocated to them, they would finish inoculating around 70 percent of their residents in 2 and a half months.