TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s vaccination effort has run into a roadblock, as many people are skeptical of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is believed to have caused the death of a 27-year-old nurse a week ago.
The attitude toward the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech is more positive, although the available supplies of it are limited.
A large share of Georgians is still generally against any kind of vaccination, as shown in a recent NDI poll. 53 percent of the surveyed said they will not get vaccinated, against only 35 percent who said the opposite.
According to Amiran Gamkrelidze, head of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, so far 9,000 people have chosen to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, 20 percent of them are medical staff, and the rest are citizens over 65 years old. In contrast, there are only 2,000 people in the queue for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Georgia initially offered its scarce supply of vaccine to medical staff, but due to the small number of medics to be vaccinated, the circle was expanded and now citizens over 65 can get vaccinated. However, a large number of elderly did not show up. Gamkrelidze says this is a shame.
“In my opinion, the fact that Georgia will not be able to absorb these minuscule amounts of vaccines will be a shame for the country and for us, the doctors […] It turns out that Georgians need a little, forgive me, more education and more knowledge,” Gamkrelidze said.
Meanwhile, mask wearing has become less common. The rate of compliance has dropped from 70 to 43 percent, which poses a problem for the coming weeks, with officials already warning of a third wave of the pandemic.
“We are now at a point that looks like the beginning of a third wave,” said the Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze.
43,200 doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca and 29,250 doses of Pfizer-Biontech are currently available in Georgia.