US President Joe Biden announced that the United States will share COVID-19 vaccines with Georgia. This is another indication of the strength of the strategic partnership between our two countries. The specific vaccine and amount for Georgia will be announced as the administration works through the logistical, regulatory and other parameters. Globally, the United States has pledged to share 80 million doses by the end of June.
Press-releases of the US Embassy in Georgia
UNICEF with the support from USAID/Georgia is organizing the information sessions in Samtskhe-Javakheti region about COVID-19 vaccinationThursday, 13 May 2021 12:19
Press Service of the UNICEF Georgia
Produced in cooperation with WHO and EUvsDisinfo
- 1. What are the benefits of being vaccinated?
Today, there are vaccines to protect against at least 20 diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, influenza and measles. Together, these vaccines save the lives of up to 3 million people every year – that’s more than five lives every minute, helping people to grow up and grow old in good health.
Vaccinations are an integral part of the panoply of healthcare that has vastly extended the length and quality of our lives in the past hundred years. Most of us received several vaccines as children, protecting us against diseases that just a few generations ago killed and crippled thousands. And our elderly and vulnerable populations are vaccinated every year to protect them against annual strains of influenza. We know that vaccinated children do better at school, and their communities benefit economically. Vaccines advance global welfare and are among the most cost-effective means of doing so.
There are now several vaccines that are in use against COVID-19, and several hundred million vaccine doses have already been administered. These vaccines protect against the disease and its consequences by developing an immune response to the virus.
Getting vaccinated will also help protect people around you, because if you are protected from developing severe COVID-19 disease through vaccination, you are less likely to infect someone else – someone like your elderly parents or grandparents, who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, or the doctors and nurses on whom we all depend. Exactly how well vaccination will prevent onward transmission is not yet known, however, so it is important to also continue with other prevention measures, like wearing a mask, until everyone around you is also vaccinated.
- 2. Are all COVID-19 vaccines safe?
All vaccines authorised in the EU to prevent COVID-19 undergo a scientific evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and are rigorously monitored to ensure safety. The WHO is working together with the EU and around the world to ensure that the highest safety standards are met for authorised vaccines.
The EMA has so far approved four vaccines for use in the European Union – those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Three others are currently under review, including the Russian Sputnik vaccine.
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines have gone through a rigorous, multi-stage testing process, including large trials that involve tens of thousands of people. These trials are specifically designed to identify any common side effects or other safety concerns.
It’s true that COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and approved at record speeds, but there has been no compromise on safety – on the contrary, the unprecedented international cooperation and vast amounts of funding have enabled huge clinical trials in real life conditions that usually take much longer to achieve, if feasible at all.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine is introduced, WHO supports work with vaccine manufacturers, health officials in each country, and other partners, to monitor any safety concerns on an ongoing basis.
As with all medicines, side effects can occur after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, and are usually a sign that the vaccine is working by stimulating the immune system to prepare the body to fight the disease. However, these side effects are transient (24-48 hours), and serious side effects (such as an allergic reaction) are exceedingly rare. The fact is: the risk of the disease by far outweighs the risks of the COVID-19 vaccines.
- 3. How are the EU and WHO helping with vaccination?
The European Union last year spent more than €1 billionto support the research and development of vaccines and new therapies to cure COVID-19. The new mRNA technology, which has been vital for the rapid development of several vaccines, has been developed in Europe. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in particular has had strong financial support from the EU (BioNTech has received more than €9 million of EU research funding over the past decade, as well as a €100 million loan from the European Investment Bank in 2020).
Through its advance purchase agreements, the EU has ordered 1.3 billion vaccine doses from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – significantly more than what it needs to vaccinate its population of 447 million people. The EU intends to share part of these vaccines with its partner countries in parallel to accelerating the EU’s own vaccination plans.
At the same time, the European Union is one of the biggest supporters of COVAX, a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. The EU’s Team Europe (which combines resources from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions) supports COVAX with more than €2.2 billion, including €1 billion from the EU budget. This is a key contribution that is helping COVAX to secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccines for 92 low and middle-income countries, including its Eastern Partners, by the end of 2021.
COVAX has so far published the following allocations of vaccines for the Eastern Partner countries for the period February to May 2021:
- Armenia: 124,800 doses of AstraZeneca
- Azerbaijan: 432,000 doses of AstraZeneca
- Georgia: 129,600 doses of AstraZeneca and 29,250 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech
- Moldova: 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 24,570 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech
- Ukraine: 1,776,000 doses of AstraZeneca and 117,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech
The first COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility have already arrived in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Moldova. Romania has also shipped vaccines to Moldova through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
But the vaccines themselves are only half the story. Equally important is the vaccine infrastructure. Since February 2021, the EU and the WHO have been working together in a major effort to support the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in the six Eastern partner countries. With a total budget of €40 million over three years, this is the largest EU and WHO joint action ever implemented in the European Region.
Through this programme, the EU and WHO are helping to prepare national infrastructures for the effective receipt and deployment of vaccines. The joint effort includes risk communication and community engagement, support to vaccine supply chain management, vaccination data and safety monitoring, training of health managers and medical staff involved in the vaccination campaign, scheduling of the vaccinations, as well as key logistical support for the delivery and handling of the vaccines and supplies.
- 4. Will the COVID-19 vaccine provide long-term protection? When will this all be over?
Because COVID-19 vaccines have only been developed and deployed over just the past year, it’s too early to know exactly how long their protection will last. Data from early studies show that immunity persists for several months but the full duration is not yet known, so continued monitoring will be needed.
If immunity against coronavirus does not last, then it may be necessary to have a vaccine every year, just as we do with the flu vaccine.
As for the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on the pandemic, this will depend on several factors, such as how quickly they are delivered, how many people get vaccinated, and the possible development of new variants of the disease.
To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population will need to be vaccinated, lowering the overall opportunities for the virus able to spread in the whole population. The percentage of people who need to be immune, either through prior infection or vaccination, in order to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease (e.g. 95% for measles and around 80% for polio). The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known.
It is also not yet known how well vaccination will prevent transmission of the virus to others who may not be protected.
Therefore, until vaccination is widely available, we have to continue following public health measures – social distancing, wearing masks in public and good hand-washing hygiene – as these play an important role in breaking the virus transmission chain.
- 5. Many of my friends and relatives think it’s all a conspiracy and are suspicious of the vaccine: how can I change their minds?
It could be a a friend, a loved-one, a colleague or a neighbour. We all know someone who is strongly opposed to vaccination. Often, this fear is driven by belief in anti-vaccine conspiracies, like the untrue but persistent myths that Microsoft is using vaccines to microchip humanity or that vaccines can modify our DNA.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 health crisis has provided ample opportunities for the spread of mis- and disinformation, not just in the Eastern partner countries, but all over the world, including in the European Union and the United States.
Whether deliberately spread to divide people, or driven by genuine concern, false information and conspiracy theories exploit our fears and contribute to existing vaccine hesitancy.
People may be exposed to misinformation through the media or opinions and rumours spread in person. But increasingly, it is online social networks which fuel the infodemic. By amplifying attention-grabbing posts, social media algorithms actually incentivise the circulation of misinformation and disinformation, allowing false information to spread faster and further than true information.
In the Eastern Partnership region, one of the key disinformation narratives revolves around the claim that vaccines developed in the West are dangerous. The EUvsDisinfo campaign, the EU’s leading initiative to counter disinformation, is continuously monitoring and analysing the spread and impact of vaccine disinformation in the EaP countries, debunking myths around the narrative that feeds the vaccine war between Russia and the West.
The EUvsDisinfo initiative has compiled a six-point guide for conversations with vaccine-sceptics to help you along the way with that friend or relative who is distrustful of vaccination. The guide urges you to stay calm, understand, relate, connect with reliable sources, encourage critical thinking, and… know when to stop.
- 6. There’s still a way to go on vaccination, so what other support is available in times of COVID-19?
The European Union has been in the frontline of COVID-19 support from the moment the pandemic struck. To date, more than €1 billion worth of support has been allocated in emergency relief to cover immediate needs, or for assisting national health systems and the social and economic recovery of the region.
The EU and the World Health Organization are working together, not only on vaccine supply, but to support the health sector across the six Eastern partner countries through the Solidarity for Health Initiative, supplying medical devices and personal equipment. Over 11 million items of personal protective equipment, 12,000 lab kits, over 1,500 ventilators, oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters, and over 20,000 PCR testing kits have been provided as part of this project.
The EU is also supporting the most vulnerable groups in society, with investments of more than €11 million. Grants of up to €60,000 are given to civil society organisations through the Eastern Partnership Solidarity Programme for projects such as supporting local schools with distance learning, helping women who have lost their jobs, or providing food supplies to the elderly and the disabled. A second programme, COVID-19: Civil Society Resilience and Sustainability, also works with civil society and independent media, helping them to continue providing access to protection and assistance, especially to the most vulnerable groups, as well as accurate information about the pandemic.
The EU is also helping business to survive this exceptionally difficult time, working closely with financing institutions in the EU Member States and globally to support small business, the self-employed and others across the region to easily access local currency loans and apply for grants to boost their businesses during and after the crisis, channelling support through the EU4Business initiative. You can visit the dedicated COVID-19 support pages on the EU4Business website to find out about support measures for businesses in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
European financial institutions, such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have been key players in supporting business credit, but they have also invested billions in supporting public health systems, building economic resilience, digitalisation, renewable energies and green investments, providing both emergency support and longer-term investment to help build a sustainable recovery.
To help Georgia fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government donated three ultra-low temperature freezers to NCDCFriday, 23 April 2021 17:29
To help Georgia fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Government donated three ultra-low temperature freezers to NCDC to support Georgia’s readiness and administration efforts.
This donation is part of more than $1,000,000 in funding from U.S. EUCOM, provided to Georgia through the Humanitarian Assistance Program.
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) as a result of regular testing.
According to the Georgian governmental administration, the Prime Minister I. Garibashvili feels well, is in self-isolation and continues to work remotely.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Strasbourg, 31.03.2021 – States across Europe are continuing to make progress on implementing judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest annual report from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
However, further efforts are needed to tackle systemic issues highlighted by the ECHR, including ill-treatment or deaths caused by the security forces and poor conditions of detention, as well as inter-state cases and a growing number of cases concerning abusive limitations on rights and freedoms.
“Today’s report shows that our member states take their obligation to implement judgments from the European Court of Human Rights very seriously, even in difficult circumstances,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.
“It is also very positive that NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions are becoming more and more involved in the process, making it more effective and transparent.
“Nevertheless, this is no time for complacency. Many important judgments have been outstanding for several years and a small number of high-profile cases are not being resolved quickly enough. Our member states have a duty to implement ECHR judgments promptly and fully. This is not a kind request – it is a binding requirement.”
The report shows that a total of 983 cases were closed by the Committee of Ministers in 2020 as a result of steps taken by the member states concerned. Of those 983 cases, 187 (19%) were “leading” cases – notably highlighting new structural or systemic problems – and 796 (81%) were repetitive.
At the end of 2020, 5,233 cases had yet to be fully implemented by the member states involved, of which 1,258 (24%) were leading cases and 3,975 (76%) were repetitive. 634 leading cases had been pending for over 5 years, but the number of such cases has been falling since 2016.
The report states that 581 payments of “just satisfaction” to applicants, awarded by the ECHR, were made on time in 2020. However, the Committee of Ministers was awaiting confirmation of payment in 1,574 cases at the end of 2020, over two-thirds of which had been awaiting confirmation for more than six months.
Finally, the report underlines that the Committee of Ministers received a record 176 formal communications from non-governmental organisations and National Human Rights Institutions in 2020, concerning 28 different states. The Committee also received its first five communications from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.
EU doubles contribution to COVAX to €1 billion to ensure safe and effective vaccines for low and middle-income countries
The European Union has announced today an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to date for the global initiative that is leading efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries. This new pledge brings us closer to achieving COVAX's target to deliver 1.3 billion doses for 92 low and middle income countries by the end of 2021. Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million pledged today by Germany.
Announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual leaders' meeting, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. This is why we decided to double the European Commission's contribution to COVAX, to €1 billion. With this new financial boost we want to make sure vaccines are soon delivered to low and middle-income countries. Because we will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, added: “We are in a race against the virus and COVAX is our best hope that all our partners, in Africa and elsewhere, have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The EU has been leading efforts in international fora, such as the G20 and G7, to guarantee that collectively we ensure that COVID-19 vaccines become a global public good. This is why today we are doubling our support to COVAX.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, stressed: “Humanism and solidarity are essential values for Europe. These values have been our compass since the onset of the pandemic. The EU has invested close to €3 billion to pre-finance the production of safe and effective vaccines, which will benefit not only the EU but citizens across the world. Vaccines produced in Europe are now going all over the world and we as Team Europe are working to share doses secured under our advanced purchase agreements preferably through COVAX with the Western Balkans, Neighborhood and Africa – benefitting above all health workers and humanitarian needs.”
The contribution announced today is composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that will back a loan by the European Investment Bank. This is subject to the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) by the Council and the European Parliament. The EIB loan to be guaranteed by EFSD+ is subject to the approval of the EIB's Board of Directors. These funds will complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget.
To date, a total of 191 countries participate in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Most of these are in Africa. Through these contributions, the Commission and its partners will secure purchase options for future COVID-19 vaccines for all the participants in the Facility.
Vaccines will be procured and delivered to countries by the UNICEF Supply Division and the PAHO's Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines. The fast arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has shown that multilateralism and multi-actor partnerships work to solve the most pressing problems of our time.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses for low and middle-income country. It will help to develop a diversified portfolio of vaccines, negotiated with different suppliers, and covering different scientific technologies, delivery times and prices. The COVAX Facility is a risk-sharing mechanism: it reduces the risk for manufacturers who invest without being sure about future demand, and it reduces the risk that countries would fail to secure access to a viable vaccine.
The European Commission is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world, and to promote global health. This is why together with partners it has helped raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action in support of universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. Team Europe's contribution was as follows: EU Member States (€3.1 billion), European Commission (over €1.4 billion) and EIB (almost €2 billion pledged in May and €4.9 billion pledged in June).
The EU's efforts to develop and produce an effective vaccine will benefit all in the global community. The EU investment in scaling up manufacturing capacity will be to the service of all countries in need. Through its Advanced Purchase Agreements, it requires manufacturers to make their production capacity available to supply all countries and calls for the free flow of vaccines and materials with no export restrictions. For instance, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK, with whom the Commission concluded an Advanced Purchase Agreement in September, will endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through the COVAX facility.
Building on the EU Vaccines Strategy, the EU is in the process of setting up vaccine sharing mechanism to allow EU Member States to redirect some of the doses procured under the advanced purchased agreement, preferably through COVAX.
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The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
The European Union and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will work together in a major effort to support the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in Georgia. The project funded by the European Union and implemented by WHO will cover all phases - constituting “end-to-end” support - of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and vaccination and will also serve as a major investment to strengthen the routine immunization system.
The project will be implemented by WHO over a three-year period as part of a €40 million European Union-funded initiative to support six countries in the WHO European Region in preparing for, deploying and monitoring rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia said:
“As part of our joint efforts to stop COVID-19, a proper and efficient vaccination campaign is key. The EU continues to stand by Georgia during the pandemic and is proud today to launch a new initiative with our close partner WHO. This initiative will support the complex vaccination rollout so that vaccines, when they arrive, are efficiently utilized and reach those that need them most.”
Silviu Domente, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Georgia, said:
“Vaccines offer hope and protection to those fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic and to those at highest risk living in fear of its devastating impact. Thanks to this generous support, WHO can strengthen its collaboration with the Government of Georgia to ensure that vaccines can reach those who need them most, as soon and as efficiently as possible.”
The funds will be used initially to support the first phase of preparedness and deployment, with an emphasis on imminent needs in strategic programmatic areas such as planning, equipment/supplies, training of health workers and information campaigns.
The project builds on the European Union’s and WHO’s ongoing support to countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the joint €35 million EU Solidarity for Health Initiative, aimed to support the partner countries in their fight against the virus and address better the needs of the most vulnerable people.
The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
On February 6th, Heavenly Culture World Peace, Restoration of Light(HWPL) hosted a HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa. 500 people from 24 countries in the sectors of African national education ministries, UNESCO national committee, MOU-signed schools and organizations participated to discuss ‘the Roles and Cooperation of Educations in the Post-COVID-19 Era.’
The host organization, HWPL, is promoting international projects in 25 countries to develop long-term peacebuilding in Africa based on the its initiative ‘Spreading a Culture of Peace’ also proposed by the United Nations resolution.
The forum highlighted the necessity of developing and applying a new educational policy to stop the disparities in education and human right violations such as sexual exploitation of children and women rampant in Africa during COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, speakers shared the examples of implementing HWPL Peace education curricula in their classrooms and reaffirmed the solidarity in promoting peace as educators in Africa.
A member of the University of Zambia Youths of United Nations Association(UNZAYUNA) as well as the case presenter of HWPL Peace Education, Grace Mutale highlighted the importance of HWPL Peace Education, “Through HWPL Peace Education, I realized that I am the answer to realizing peace and determined to take part in peace work.”
Deputy Director of Ministry of Education Kenya, Science and Technology, Bartholomew Lumbasi Wanikina said “Peace Education is important since through the teachers, children able to build and sustainable peace in their respective families, friends, community, workplace, and country. Therefore, as educators, we must disseminate the message of peace so that children can have peace and have a sustainable peace,” emphasizing the responsibility and the role of educators in building sustainable peace.
General Secretary, Cote d’lvoire National Commission for UNESCO, SORO N’ golo Aboudo said, “We would like to have an associated school so that this culture of peace program is taught in these schools, and that the children are really aware about the issue of peace and especially the issue of nonviolence.”
During the forum, HWPL signed a MOA(‘Memorandum of Agreement’) with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in Kenya, and signed Peace Academy MOUs(‘Memorandum of Understanding) with 13 schools. The department of peace education will work closely with peace academies to appoint and train on-and offline peace educators and conduct pilot classes on the value of peace.
Press-release of the HWPL
The Prime Minister-led Inter-Agency Coordination Council has introduced new rules for all airline passengers (both Georgian and foreign nationals) to Georgia. The rules will begin to apply from 1 February 2021.
More specifically, Georgian nationals arriving in Georgia as of 1 February will have the option of providing a negative PCR test and self-isolating for 8 days or, instead of self -isolating, taking a second PCR test at their own expense, on the third day from their arrival, and thus exempt themselves from the obligation to self-isolate. For Georgian nationals entering the territory of Georgia by air without providing a negative PCR test, the period of self-isolation will be reduced from 12 to 8 days.
As for foreign visitors to Georgia, they can freely enter the territory of the country if they provide COVID-19 vaccine certificates saying that they have received two full doses of vaccines.
Non-vaccinated visitors, who are nationals or residents of the EU, Israel, Switzerland, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will not need to self-isolate. Upon entry to Georgia, including through transit, they will have to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival and then take a second PCR test at their own expense, on the third day from their arrival.
The rules already applying to land borders will remain in force.
The Administration of the MFA Georgia