Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili did not deny reports on Georgia refusing the donation of 50,000 AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine shots from Latvia, saying it is the country’s “sovereign choice” to bring in the vaccines in accordance with public demand.
Citing doctors and epidemiologists, PM Garibashvili argued on September 2 that AstraZeneca shots are “less demanded and prioritized” by the Georgian public, despite their current availability.
“If there were no vaccines in the country and we had refused them, it would directly amount to a crime,” the PM noted, adding that the country has 3 million jabs currently.
He noted that Georgia currently has Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines at its disposal, in addition to Chinese Sinovac doses, while authorities have already ordered one million additional doses of China-made Sinopharm vaccine and are currently working to obtain two million more Pfizer shots.
Questions arose after Giorgi Kandelaki, a member of the opposition European Georgia party, said today that Georgian authorities had turned down the donation from Latvia in July.
According to Kandelaki, the refusal came after Baltic countries reportedly denied Georgian PM’s official visits over the alleged unwillingness of Georgian authorities to punish those responsible for the July 5 homophobic pogroms. Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quoted earlier in media as denying the reports of canceled visits as “speculation.”
Georgian vaccine portal shows 92,259 free doses of Pfizer, 74,016 doses of Sinovac, 142,496 doses of Sinopharm, and 15,615 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines available for booking as of 17:00, September 2.
Noteworthy that not all jabs in storage may be available for booking. Also, health authorities have warned that part of the listed doses, particularly from Sinopharm, can only be booked by those awaiting their second shots as the country expects further delivery to meet the demand.