Doctor urges patriarchate to prevent ‘anti-doctor campaigns’ by anti-vaxxer clerics

Doctor Bidzina Kulumbegov says that the activities of anti-vaxxer clerics may result in human deaths. Photo: UNICEF Georgia., 19 Aug 2021 - 19:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Immunologist-allergist Bidzina Kulumbegov, who is taking part in UNICEF’s awareness raising campaign on coronavirus vaccination around the country, has called on the Georgian patriarchate to take actions to ‘stop anti-doctor campaigns’ by a group of anti-vaxxer clerics. 

The group of clerics compared Kulumbegov and other doctors to Nazi officer and doctor Josef Mengele–who carried out deadly experiments on prisoners during WW2–during a Facebook live earler this week. 

Hampering doctors’ activities is a crime which may result in human deaths,” Kulumbegov said in his Facebook post, citing the Patriarchate’s official statement that the ‘church is not interfering in medical issues.’ 

The patriarchate, which enjoys the support of 80 per cent of the country’s population, said on August 11 that clerics' positive or negative attitude to the vaccination process ‘should not be a trigger for others to make decisions.’ 

Vaccination is part of the medical field and requires an individual approach which is beyond the church’s competence,” said the statement. 

Patriarchate says that vaccination must not be mandatory. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

The statement also said that ‘vaccination must not be mandatory’ and that everyone should observe coronavirus guidelines. 

The statement released by Patriarch Ilia II yesterday said that the people ‘should rely on God first’ and that ‘death is not the end of life’. 

The statements came after a request from Georgian health officials and President Salome Zurabishvili to the church to encourage the vaccination process. 

Georgia has reported 4,921 new cases of coronavirus, 4,471 recoveries and 58 deaths in the past 24 hours. 

57,704 remain infected with Covid-19 in Georgia currently.

883,570 individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the country so far, of which 258,303 individuals have been completely vaccinated.