Georgia has set a goal to vaccinate 60% of its population by the end of 2021, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced today.
The government envisages vaccinating high risk groups in the first quarter of the year. Persons under 18 won’t be inoculated as the clinical trials targeting this age group have not been conducted yet.
Head of Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze, says the vaccination plan covers eight key elements, including determining target groups, devising scenarios of distribution, managing side effects and raising public awareness.
The frontline medical workers and nursing home residents shall be the first to get vaccinated, followed by elderly persons over 75 years of age. Seniors over 65 will be coming next, followed by persons over 55 with chronic illnesses, Gamkrelidze noted.
Gamkrelidze added that immunizing 60% of the population should allow the country retrieve its normal rhythm of life.
“Our vaccination plan targets 60% of the population. It’s hard, yet possible. We must somehow suppress the anti-vaccine movement because, humanity has never thought of anything better than a vaccine. Without vaccination, we will not be able to defeat the virus; all of us must understand this well”, said Gamkrelidze.
Georgia has already signed an agreement with COVAX to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for over 700,000 individuals. The European Union is participating within the scope of its Neighbourhood Policy to ensure that Georgia receives additional doses outside the portion foreseen by Covax. Bilateral talks are ongoing with all vaccine manufacturers and international organizations, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Georgia’s local embassies.
COVAX is part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator), a ground-breaking global collaborationto defeat the virus using diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
The importance of timely vaccine rollout grows as health officials warn of the potential ‘third wave’ of the pandemic. Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze recently predicted the onset of the third wave towards the end of February.
The global pandemic has already caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and disrupted the lives of billions more.
Georgia today reported 1,137 new cases of coronavirus, with 1,179 recoveries and 11 deaths.