Georgian church stands by decision not to assist vaccination campaign
Vaccination in Georgia
The Georgian Orthodox Church will not assist the government in its pro-vaccination campaign – a decision it has reiterated following a meeting with Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze on March 18.
The Patriarchate says that it does, however, ‘welcome all reasonable decisions made by the Ministry of Health aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens.’
“The purpose of the meeting was to inform the Patriarch in detail about the epidemic in the country and how the vaccination process will be carried out. The Church understands the global challenges the world is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Tikaradze said.
On March 16, the head of the National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze appealed to the Holy Synod and asked him to assist in the vaccination process in Georgia.
People often trust the clergy more than doctors, so their role in this process is very important, Gamkrelidze said.
Among the members of the Holy Synod, only Bishop Ananias responded to Gamkrelidze’s request. According to him, vaccination is necessary:
“I personally will definitely [get myself vaccinated]. Where is the vaccine? Let it get to us and I’ll do it.”
Vaccination in Georgia started on March 15. The country received the first shipment of 43,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the international COVAX platform. The vaccine manufacturer is the South Korean company AstraZeneca-SKBio.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) helped the Georgian government in purchasing the vaccine. Vaccinations have been distributed to 82 medical institutions.