By Deighton Acuin and Archie Villaflores

PHOTO: Trendz PH

Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination program prioritization next to healthcare workers and senior citizens because he has “comorbidities,” Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said on Wednesday.

Olivarez, interviewed over ANC, addressed the social media posts showing the actor being inoculated with vaccines developed by British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, with some questioning the vaccination despite limited supply which is intended for medical 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.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview over TeleRadyo, Olivarez said Fernandez has supposed depression and hypertension, making him under the list of persons with comorbidities.

"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.

"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.

Olivarez emphasized the individuals who showed up for the city’s inoculation drive, particularly if they were screened for comorbidities, were getting jabs after health workers.

The vaccines, according to the mayor, must also be administered as soon as possible to avoid wastage.

According to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), "[p]ersons with comorbidities" are next in line after medical frontliners and senior citizens.

The actor’s inoculation came on trend amid criticisms of early vaccination among some politicians amid limited supply in the country.

The government has yet to finish the inoculation of some 1.7 million healthcare workers in the Philippines.

Olivarez further said they have begun inoculation among residents with comorbidities and senior citizens since most of the medical personnel in the city have already received vaccine shots.

"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.

He added the local government did not any guidelines following the administration of vaccine dose to Fernandez.

Depending on the supply, Olivarez said they would finish administering shots for around 70% of the constituents in two and a half months.

"Mabilis 'yung ating vaccination... 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," Olivarez added.