Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the chair of Government’s Inter-Agency Coordination Council tasked with handling COVID-19 in Georgia, has vowed “not to allow” mandatory vaccination against COVID-19.
Responding to reporters on October 24 during pre-election campaign trip to eastern Telavi town, the Prime Minister said Georgian citizens should enjoy “the right and an opportunity of free choice.”
“I did my best to bring more than enough – millions of – vaccines… We brought all different kinds of vaccines in Georgia,” PM Garibashvili went on, adding that “we have to convince people, not force them.”
Assessing the declining vaccination rate in the country as “sad,” the Prime Minister asserted that strong anti-vaxxer campaigns are also present in both Europe and U.S. “In reality, this is disinformation… We should trust scientists.”
Georgia began vaccine rollout in mid-March, hoping to vaccinate 60% of the grown-up population (about 1,7 mln. out of 2,8 mln.) by the end of 2021.
As of today, according to the National Center for Disease Control, 1,024,769 people have received at least one jab of the COVID vaccine, including 925,169 people — some 33% of the adult population – that are fully vaccinated.
Yesterday, only 1,877 doses were administered, in comparison to over 20,000 daily shots in August. The downtrend comes against the Prime Minister Garibashvili’s expectations in late August to have vaccinated up to 2 million persons by the end of September.
Recent public opinion surveys have pointed to high vaccine hesitancy among Georgians. According to NDI-commissioned poll of July, 47% of respondents said they will not get vaccinated, 35% said they will, 11% answered don’t know, while 7% reported they were already vaccinated.