Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has stated that he has no intention to get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, stating falsely that ‘the vaccine doesn’t work’ against the Omicron variant.
‘I do not have a booster. There’s no point’, he said, while insisting he was not against the vaccines.
‘Those recovered from Omicron, and I’ll rely again on American scientists and scientists of Europe, have stronger immunity than those [vaccinated] with a booster dose ’, Gharibashvili falsely claimed in a Wednesday interview with Rustavi 2.
Despite scientific consensus, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has falsely stated that ‘the vaccine doesn’t work’ against the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
— OC Media (@OCMediaorg) February 24, 2022
Tuesday was the anniversary of Gharibashvili’s reappointment as Prime Minister. Since returning to the post in the midst of the pandemic, he has made several statements questioning the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
In his latest interview, he claimed that he was not against vaccines but merely was a ‘realist, supporter of reality, and on the side of truth’.
‘I am being criticised about vaccines and get called “anti-vaxxer”, me — who has imported five million vaccines [into Georgia]’, Gharibashvili said in his defence. ‘When I came, there were zero. I beat COVID twice, and got vaccinated with Pfizer twice.’
He added that, in his view, the vaccine ‘worked previously, against other strains’ but ‘it simply does not work in the case of Omicron’, or if it does then ‘the percentage is very low’.
There is a global medical consensus that despite Omicron showing a greater likelihood of infecting the vaccinated, vaccines still offer a great degree of protection against severe illness and death.
The World Health Organisation has encouraged booster shots as ‘the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, as with many other vaccines, such as the one for flu, wanes over time’.
In October, Gharibashvili vowed he ‘will not allow’ compulsory vaccination in Georgia. He was consequently met with harsh criticism from those in the medical community that insisted on introducing a mandatory vaccination for certain groups.
[Read on OC Media: Georgian PM ‘won’t allow’ compulsory vaccination]
The vaccination of the Prime Minister also turned out to be scandalous/scandal-ridden. Before getting two doses of Pfizer in August and September, Gharibashvili was criticised by Georgian opposition as the Prime Minister and a big part of the government cabinet remained unvaccinated.
In August, Gharibashvili was criticised after being filmed attending a crowded dinner in breach of anti-COVID regulations.
Earlier in June, he also cancelled the country’s mask mandate, reversing his decision 80 days later.