Public healthcare officials have expressed concerns over Georgia’s vaccination drive slowing down as jabs administered daily have hovered between 12-15,000 over the past three days, a marked drop from over 20,000 people receiving the doses daily on average last week.
Tengiz Tsertsvadze, Director of Tbilisi Hospital of Infectious Diseases, raised the alarm on September 22 over the inoculation rates. “The population has turned its back on vaccination and are sabotaging their country and their own selves,” said Tsertsvadze, one of the top health experts in the country.
Deputy Chief of the National Center for Disease Control Center, Paata Imnadze concurred with Tsertsvadze’s remarks on September 23, adding that the amount of people vaccinated is nearly a “quarter” of what the health officials had targetted.
As soon as the new COVID-19 wave begins Georgia will have not only a large number of infections but a high fatality rate as well, Imnadze warned.
He compared the country to Israel, where he said the rate of infection per 100,000 people is “significantly” higher than in Georgia but the rate of fatality rate is “8-10 times lower” due to the higher immunization rate. Vaccination is “decisive,” the Deputy NCDC Chief asserted.
He also noted that “a large enough amount” of Pfizer vaccines Georgia has in stores are near their expiration dates, with the doses mostly valid through December 2021. “It is hurtful that we have the vaccines that are desired by many countries, but our populace is not using them,” the health official added.
Georgian authorities are not considering imposing obligatory inoculation. Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze ruled out introducing mandatory vaccination “at this stage” on September 22, albeit noting she is not satisfied with current immunization rates.
The Minister said she is sure Georgians are “quite intelligent” and will be convinced through the Ministry’s “communication channels” to opt for receiving the jab. She stressed it is particularly important to vaccinate people aged over 60 so that hospitals are not overloaded.
As of September 23, 740,814 people are fully vaccinated, while 960,801 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 jab. Georgian authorities have set a target of inoculating 60% of the adult population through 2021 – around 1.8 million persons.
Georgia currently administers Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs. The Healthy Ministry vaccination portal shows 812,909 free doses of Pfizer, 44,510 doses of AstraZeneca, 115,757 doses of Sinovac and 244,758 doses of Sinopharm.
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