Georgia Starts COVID-19 Vaccination with Sinopharm

Georgia commenced on May 4 COVID-19 vaccination with Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for all age groups above 18. 30 medical facilities were mobilized across the country to administer the vaccines, with another 44 expected to be added tomorrow.

The Chinese-developed vaccine is the third to be administered in Georgia, following Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech, which are currently only available to medical personnel and citizens over 55.

Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), was among the first Georgians to publicly receive a Sinopharm shot this morning.

Georgian health authorities initially stressed that inoculation with Sinopharm would not commence before WHO approval, but the country’s Immunization Council greenlighted yesterday to move ahead with the vaccination, as the China-made shots are still expecting WHO authorization.

In the meantime, an evidence assessment by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on May 3 found the Sinopharm vaccine to have an efficacy rate of 78.1%, approximating the Chinese company’s previous self-assessment which showed 79% efficacy. SAGE also said it is “moderately confident that the risk of serious adverse events following one or two doses” of Sinopharm in adults is low, moving the Chinese vaccine closer toward receiving the WHO authorization.

Georgia opened registration with the Sinopharm vaccine for all citizens over the age of 18 on April 27, after having received a batch of 100,000 doses on April 3. According to the NCDC, Georgia’s chief public health authority, 17,613 citizens registered to receive the Chinese jabs.

Tbilisi also received a batch of 100,000 Sinovac (CoronaVac) COVID-19 vaccines from China as humanitarian aid recently on April 30, but the registration for Sinovac shots has not opened yet.

The country began COVID vaccination on March 15. 43,200 doses of British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Georgia on March 13, while 29,250 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech followed on March 25.

Georgia’s health authorities are hoping to vaccinate 60% of the population over 18  — that is 1.7 million citizens.  But some six weeks into the vaccination with AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech, only 45,344 persons in total have received at least one jab as of today, that is around 1.2% of the public.

On May 4, the Georgian health authorities reported 788 new cases of COVID-19 and 1,206 more recoveries. The number of total confirmed cases in the country stands at 313,742, of which 295,458 recovered and 4,183 died. The number of active cases to date stands at 14,075.

Read for COVID-19 updates in Georgia:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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