Tbilisi, November 5, 2021
The Georgian Orthodox Church is among those to blame for the low COVID vaccination numbers among the population, the Georgian president believes.
According to Reuters’ COVID-19 Tracker, enough vaccine doses have been administered in Georgia to cover about 27% of the population, assuming every person needs 2 doses.
President Salome Zourabichvili believes that the reluctance of many citizens is due to the fact that the Patriarchate of Georgia has not officially supported vaccination, reports Interfax-Religion.
In February, the Holy Synod of the Georgian Church decided that it “will not be able to take responsibility for the promotion of vaccination, as this is the competence and responsibility of medical professionals.” The hierarchs also welcomed the fact that vaccination is voluntary.
“Great responsibility is borne by the Patriarchate, which refrains from giving its blessing, which gives an opportunity for individual clergy to preach anti-vaccine propaganda,” the head of state said.
Responsibility also lies with certain representatives of the medical field, “whose views harm the common cause,” and with the citizens, who threaten the country with a “demographic catastrophe” because of their personal fears, Zourabichvili also said.
She also called on the government to do more to popularize vaccinations.