Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez says ‘no violation’ in getting early COVID-19 vaccine

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2021 04:36 PM

MANILA – Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez said Thursday he did not violate any protocol when he was inoculated against COVID-19 in Parañaque City, noting that he is included in the priority sector as a person with a comorbidity.

Fernandez explained that he was among those on the quick substitution list who were vaccinated against COVID-19 last Monday after several health workers— who are the topmost priority— failed to show up to get the jabs.

“No violation is made because I’m on second priority list and some people on the first didn't show up,” Fernandez told ABS-CBN News in a text message.

“My BP (blood pressure) was 180/130, so must na ma-shot-an ako (so it’s a must that I get a shot),” he said.

Parañaque City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtucio confirmed this to ABS-CBN News.

“Siya ay na-screen ng doctors, at isa siya sa mayroong tinatawag natin na comorbid. ‘Yung bata ay hypertensive siya for a year. Mayroon din siyang episodes ng depression,” she explained.

(He was screened by doctors and is included among those that we call comorbid. He has been hypertensive for a year and he has episodes of depression.)

“Wala po kaming sinuway na patakaran doon. Pumasa po ‘yon si Mark Anthony sa category A,” she added.

(We did not violate against any protocol with what we did. Mark Anthony passed to be included in category A.)

The Parañaque City Health Office also asked permission from the Department of Health’s regional office in the National Capital Region before it gave the vaccines to others on the priority list who are not health workers.

“They know. Yes. I asked permission from them,” said Virtucio.

“Ang sabi ng DOH-NCR (National Capital Region), it’s how you implement your strategy. As long as you are able to finish and follow the category areas, walang problema doon,” she said.

(The DOH-NCR told us, ‘it’s how you implement your strategy.’ As long as you are able to finish and follow the category areas, there’s no problem there.)

But for Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, the substitutes for the vaccination should have also been health workers.

“’Pag hindi po available dapat ‘yong mga babakunahan, ‘yong substitution dapat nandoon din sa mga priority individuals,” he said in a press briefing.

(If someone is not available for vaccination, the substitution should also come from priority individuals.)

Densing said the DILG would ask Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez about reported violations of the COVID-19 vaccination program’s prioritization framework in the city.

As of this time, there are no legal liabilities against unauthorized people who jump the vaccination line, Densing said.

Instead, liability will fall on authorities who allowed the vaccination of those outside the priority list, he added.

Aside from Fernandez, other local officials, mostly mayors, have also received COVID-19 shots despite the government’s order to prioritize health workers.

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