The Prosecutor’s Office has charged a doctor for failing to provide emergency medical assistance to their coworker, nurse Megi Bakradze, when she experienced a fatal allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine in 2021.
Both Bakradze and the unnamed doctor who administered her COVID-19 jab worked at the Imedi clinic in Akhaltsikhe in southwestern Georgia.
Bakradze, 27, lapsed into a coma 20–30 minutes after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine on 18 March, and died of complications a day later. She was among the first from a target group of healthcare workers to receive the AstraZeneca shot.
‘I believe vaccination is necessary […] People are scared, but there’s nothing to fear. I call on them to get vaccinated’, Bakradze told the local TV Channel 9 upon receiving her shot three days after the national rollout among medical staff began.
Amidst the growing fears of the then recently developed vaccines and health misinformation rampant among Georgians, Bakradze’s death is thought to have fuelled, at least for a short period, vaccine hesitancy in Georgia, including among the local medical community.
[Read more on OC Media: Datablog | How Megi Bakradze’s death affected vaccine hesitancy in Georgia]
In the following months, AstraZeneca remained the least desired vaccine in Georgia. By November of that year, according to National Centre for Disease Control, Georgia had 17,000 expired shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Over one year and nine months after the fatal incident, prosecutor Tamar Iakobidze reported that an Imedi clinic doctor had been charged with failing to provide urgent medical aid, without a valid reason, to a sick person, resulting in their death.
The crime is punishable by one or two years of house arrest or a prison term of three to five years.
According to the investigation carried out by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a local doctor witnessed Bakradze suffering from allergic reactions on her neck and chest and ‘having a catheter administered in her vein’. Instead of providing Bakradze with medical assistance, the doctor left the clinic’s premises, the ministry reported.
Bakradze was held in the clinic’s waiting room for 30 minutes after she received the vaccine, as standard protocol in case of an adverse reaction to receiving the shot.
In April 2021, Prosecutor’s Office reported that they charged two doctors and one nurse for giving false testimonies to the investigators. The office confirmed on Wednesday that they had recently charged one of those doctors with neglect.
Initially, medical staff at Imedi insisted they had provided Bakradze with epinephrine, a routine treatment for severe allergic reactions, a claim that the Prosecutor’s Office questioned after the investigation was launched.
Bakradze died on 19 March from complications soon after being transported to Tbilisi First University Clinic. She was survived by her husband and two children.