Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions on April 30 received their first batches of Russian-made Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the coronavirus. Kremlin-backed S. Ossetian authorities started administering the jabs on May 4, while the process has not yet started in Abkhazia.
According to the Tskhinvali-based RES news agency, the S. Ossetian authorities prioritize health workers and employees at educational institutions in accessing the recently delivered 2,000 doses.
Sokhumi-based Apsnypress news agency said medical workers are also first in line to be vaccinated in Abkhazia, followed by teachers, security and law enforcement officers, and civil servants with the 6,500 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.
On March 30, Tbilisi opened vaccination in Georgia proper for medical personnel and citizens above 65 for residents of both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. Both Sokhumi and Tskhinvali authorities declined the offer.
Earlier on January 15, Russia initiated vaccine rollout for the personnel of its military bases in both occupied regions using the Sputnik V jabs.
According to the latest data, Abkhazia, the region with less than a quarter million people, reported a total of 14,617 cases of COVID-19, of which 13,650 patients have recovered and 222 passed away.
Authorities in the Tskhinvali region, the population of which reportedly stands at around 50,000, confirmed a total of 3,401 cases with 3,074 patients already recovered. The number of COVID-related fatalities in Tskhinvali was last reported in mid-January and stood at “more than 60” deaths.