Will WHO backing of China's Sinopharm vaccine end mistrust among Georgian citizens?
Georgia’s use of China’s Sinopharm vaccine is a subject of heated discussions.
World Health Organization’s decision (WHO) to approve the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine is an important development for Georgia which has been using the Sinopharm vaccine since May 4. Now, with the official WHO backing, Georgian health officials are hopeful that Georgian citizens will feel more confident receiving the vaccine.
“Beijing’s Sinopharm vaccine against Covid-19 is the sixth vaccine approved by WHO as safe, effective and one of high quality”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adanaho Ghebreyus said on May 7.
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Mistrust in vaccines, as well as in the way the vaccination process is managed, has become a major obstacle to achieving the nationwide vaccination goal in Georgia. Many travel hundreds of kilometers to other countries to get vaccinated there, while in the country several thousand unused doses of vaccine may soon become unusable.
Vaccination against coronavirus in Georgia began on March 15, 2021. By May 6, the total number of Georgian citizens who received at least one shot of the vaccine only reached 51,600 (with a total population of almost 4 million).
Only about 0.21% of the Georgian population have received both shots of a vaccine.
By May 6, the country received 315,450 doses of vaccines, which is enough to fully vaccinate 157,725 people or 4.26% of the country’s total population.
Vaccination in Georgia is voluntary, and, starting from May 4, all citizens over 18 years of age can get vaccinated.
Currently, four vaccines are being used in Georgia: the German-American Pfizer, the British Astrazeneca, the Chinese Sinopharm (Beijing), and the Chinese Sinovak (not yet authorized by WHO).