Georgia received 29,250 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the early hours of March 25, procured and delivered by COVAX facility, a United Nations-backed vaccine-sharing scheme, the Ministry of Health reported. The import was delayed earlier in March due to Georgia reportedly failing to meet Pfizer’s indemnification requirements.
According to Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia, the Pfizer vaccine will only be available in four clinics in the capital city of Tbilisi, in one clinic in Kutaisi, and in one in Batumi, given the necessary ultra-cold storage requirements. Vaccination with Pfizer jabs will be available starting March 30.
Georgians will now be able to choose between the two available vaccines, as the country already began the vaccination on March 15 with AstraZeneca jabs, two days after receiving the first batch of 43,200 doses of the British-Swedish vaccine. 86,400 more jabs of AstraZeneca are expected to be delivered in April.
Georgia initially prioritized the vaccination for healthcare system workers, but the authorities are opening the rollout for senior citizens over 65 starting from today, as a significant part of medical professionals has been reluctant to get vaccinated. As of March 24, 4,048 medical personnel have been inoculated, a modest share of around 70,000 eligible persons.
Meanwhile, the country’s vaccination plan entails immunizing approximately 60% of the population over 18 – 1.7 million citizens – by the end of 2021. The Georgian authorities said the necessary costs will range from GEL 64.3 million to GEL 158.1 million (USD 19.5 mln to 47.8 mln).
The authorities have confirmed 450 new cases and 254 more recoveries of COVID-19 on March 24. The tally of total confirmed cases stands at 278,628, of which 270,922 have recovered and 3,722 died. The number of active cases to date stands at 3,958.