On April 8, Facebook user Tinatin Chikadze published a post, in which she expresses concern over mandatory nature of vaccination and accuses Tamar Gabunia, deputy health minister, of using violence. The author quotes Tamar Gabunia allegedly saying in the interview with Rustavi 2 TV on April 6 that if citizens do not get vaccinated voluntarily, employers will ensure their forced vaccination by threatening with termination of their employment. “She said that ‘we will instruct employers to vaccinate the staff forcibly; otherwise, they will be fired’,” writes the author of the post.
The post leaves an impression as if the Health Ministry compels the employers from various spheres to impose forced vaccination on their employees.
Tamar Gabunia’s comments were torn out of context and spread incompletely that leaves an impression that employers will try to impose forced vaccination on their employees; otherwise, people will lose their jobs. In fact, Gabunia makes it clear in her full comments to Rustavi 2 TV’s Dgis Kurieri program that vaccination is not mandatory in any sphere, while considering the risks faced by the healthcare system, the Deputy Minister does not rule out that employers may raise certain requirements regarding vaccination.
Georgian Deputy Health Minister Tamar Gabunia spoke with Rustavi 2 TV’s Dgis Kurieri program about the current epidemiological situation in the country. The TV journalist noted that the Italian government has made the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for health care workers, adding that since the number of health care workers willing to get vaccinated is not high in Georgia, it is interesting what the Georgian health system thinks about sharing this experience. Asked whether mandatory vaccination is planned for Georgian health care workers, Gabunia responded that it is important to maintain safe environment in healthcare system and therefore, to create more incentives and motivation, employers may raise certain requirements regarding vaccination in the future. Gabunia stressed in her comments that at this point, vaccination remains voluntary for people employed in various spheres.
Tamar Gabunia: “We have agreed so far that vaccination will remain voluntary for any person, be it a health care worker or other individuals. The vaccination council will additionally discuss the issue in the future. Maintenance of safe environment in the health sector is so important that there may be more incentives, positive motivation or raising certain requirements by employers for getting vaccinated. I do not rule out that we will discuss this issue. But today, people can make decisions on their own.”
The comments spread on social media do not indicate that the journalist’s question referred to the people employed in the healthcare system. Thus, considering the peculiarities of the sphere and the risks facing the health sector, Gabunia spoke about the issue of vaccinating people employed just in this sphere.
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