Mark Anthony Fernandez was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, a local website reported today, in what appears to be a new violation of the country’s vaccination priority list.
Fernandez, 42, told the entertainment website Pep.ph that he received the vaccine on March 22 in Parañaque City. It’s unclear why he was jabbed because medical workers, the elderly, and those with comorbidities should be inoculated first. At present, the vaccines that the country has received aren’t even enough to vaccinate the Philippines’ 1.8 million healthcare workers.
“The vaccine is from the UK. The side effect, either you will get a fever or you’ll get dizzy. I didn’t experience that. I even became stronger,” the actor, who is trying to make a comeback after a brief incarceration, said.
He even had the pictures to prove it.
Well, that’s great. What is not so great is why he got the vaccine ahead of other people. The World Health Organization has warned the Philippine government that it should follow its prioritization list, or else the country will no longer receive vaccines from the COVAX facility.
“If we cannot demonstrate that we are following this prioritization, unfortunately, the COVAX may have to consider other options where the impact of the vaccine rollout will be more useful and practical and will contribute to saving more lives,” the organization’s representative to the Philippines, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, said earlier this month.
It was just this week when Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romauldez was inoculated with CoronaVac, a vaccine donated by China. Romualdez defended his decision, saying that he wanted to inspire medical workers, but he will be facing an investigation from the Department of Interior and Local Government.
But politicians jumping the vaccine line has become the norm. CNN Philippines reported that Mayor Elanito Peña of Minglanilla, Cebu was also jabbed with AstraZeneca. Three mayors from Bohol province were also reportedly inoculated: Mayor Victoriano Torres of Alicia, Mayor Virgilio Mendez of San Miguel, and Mayor Arturo Piollo II of Lila.
Editor’s note: Shortly after this article was published, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told ANC in an interview that Fernandez was vaccinated because he supposedly has “comorbidities,” which was why he was added to the priority list along with frontliners.
People with comorbidities are on the A3 level in the national government’s priority list: A1 are frontliners and A2 are senior citizens. It’s unclear if all senior citizens of Parañaque City have all been vaccinated before Fernandez got his jab.