DOH: 'No confirmed' date yet on arrival of COVID-19 vaccines

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, February 10, that there is "no confirmed date" yet on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines as the country prepares for its vaccination program.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing that what Gavi vaccine alliance COVAX facility told them was an "indicative date" or tentative schedule, which is the 2nd or 3rd week of February.

"The February 15 is an indicative date, when we say indicative date that is tentative schedule. No confirmed date yet on when are we going to start," she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Vergeire issued the statement when asked about the arrival of the vaccines in the country so as not to give "false hopes" to Filipinos. She added that they will give the exact date of the start of the vaccination program once they get the confirmation of the vaccine arrival.

This comes after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the government would be ready to start its vaccination program by February 15. He later clarified though that start of vaccination will still depend on the arrival of the vaccines from the COVAX facility.

Though they could not give the exact date of the vaccination program, the government – led by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez – on Tuesday held a simulation exercise of the vaccine arrival in the country, including the pickup of the vaccine supplies from the airport.

 Vergeire said the simulation was done to avoid vaccine wastage.

Meanwhile, the DOH said on Monday that that all vaccine operation centers in local government units located in Metro Manila, Central Visayas, and Davao should be fully activated by February 10 –

Read Rappler's series of explainers on the Duterte government's vaccine program below:

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.