Why is Georgia's Covid-19 vaccination plan delayed?
Why is Georgia’s Covid-19 vaccination plan delayed after having expected to receive initial doses in February?
The COVAX programme, which aims to help a number of nations across the world secure the vaccine, says that Georgia did not meet the criteria to receive the first doses of the vaccine and has several conditions still to fulfill.
The Georgian Ministry of Health denies this statement and says that the reason for the postponement of the start of vaccination was ‘additional requirements that were not initially specified, put forward by Pfizer.’
Both COVAX and the Ministry of Health, however, expect that the bulk of the vaccine will arrive in Georgia in March. And in April, the list of those who will be vaccinated will be expanded, as additional doses of the vaccine are expected. “The Astrazeneca vaccine will be purchased directly from the manufacturer,” said Paata Imnadze, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control.
The Georgian public speaks of the delay in vaccination with great indignation, as officials responsible for the fight against coronavirus have repeatedly promised that Georgia will be one of the first countries to receive the vaccine.
The first batch of Pfizer vaccine [approximately 30,000 doses] was due to arrive in Georgia in February. It was intended for medical personnel to be vaccinated. Another 184,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccine were expected through the COVAX programme.
According to COVAX, in order to obtain a vaccine, the national regulatory authority of a participating country must officially authorize its use. Another condition is that all programme participants must sign an agreement on payment to the vaccine manufacturers.
The Ministry of Health says that Georgia has fulfilled all the conditions. The country officially joined the COVAX program as soon as it was established – in September 2020. Back in October, 5.3 million dollars were transferred for the vaccine, which should have been enough for doses for 20 percent of the population.
Vaccinations are already underway in 103 countries around the world
According to Bloomberg, vaccinations are already underway in 103 countries of the world, and 240 million doses have already been given.
6.7 million vaccinations are given worldwide every day. At this rate, it will take the world four and a half years to defeat the pandemic. But the rate of vaccination is expected to increase significantly.
In absolute terms of vaccination, the United States is in the lead, with 75 million people having already received at least one dose.
Israel is also the undisputed world leader in terms of the number of vaccinated citizens – 51% of the population [4.8 million people] have already received at least one dose. More than 35% of the population is fully vaccinated.