Georgian medical professionals warn against issuing termless COVID passes

Georgia reported 4,534 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 26 Nov 2021 - 14:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian medical professionals have expressed their doubts regarding the issuance of termless COVID passes for recovered individuals, saying that ‘no other country’ follows such a practice.

The statements came after the head of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Amiran Gamkrelidze said yesterday that the government might allow two types of COVID passes for internal and foreign use, with the internal passes having no expiration date for individuals who have recovered from the virus.

Immunologist-allergist Bidzina Kulumbegov said that he was unable to find a precedent of issuing termless COVID passes in any other country.

The pandemic should not be a hostage to political processes, or else it will harm the people… As [medical] specialists and just ordinary citizens of this country, we ask for an explanation of what this decision is based on, Kulumbegov added.

Medical director of Iashvili Children Hospital and head of the Immunisation Council Ivane Chkhaidze maintained that the period of validity for COVID passes should ‘definitely change.’

It is unimaginable to talk about termless [COVID passes], I guess it is some technical error or misunderstanding. Coronavirus is not measles, which you recover from and spend the rest of your life without. Coronavirus is very different from that disease, Chkhaidze explained.

Georgian Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze noted that the possible issuance of two types of COVID passes in the country is based on ‘Georgian character.’

We are Georgians, and I don’t think anyone can be surprised over the fact that we all have our specific views. I personally think that it is important for the public to gradually adapt to the important changes happening in the world, Tikaradze said.

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria said that she thought Tikaradze’s statement was ‘sarcasm.’ However, Lomjaria called on health officials to issue mandatory vaccination for high-risk groups.

We should take into account the international practice which says that everyone over the age of 60 should be vaccinated, while COVID-recovered individuals develop immunity that lasts for six months, Lomjaria added.

Georgia reported 4,534 new cases of coronavirus, 3,742 recoveries, and 74 deaths in the last 24 hours.

2,122,856 individuals in the country have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, while 986,877 people have been fully vaccinated.