Speaking in the interview with Alt-TV on February 13, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, head of the Primakov Georgian-Russian Public Center, said that people are used for testing vaccines and that vaccines pose a threat, because they were created in an accelerated manner. To back up his words, Lortkipanidze cites Georgian immunologist, Bidzina Kulumbegov allegedly saying that Pfizer vaccine had to undergo two years of clinical trials, but was instead created within two months. Tatia Gabritchidze, the program host, agrees with Lortkipanidze, saying that she has heard similar views from other persons, who claim that long-term health effects of the vaccine are unknown so far.
Dimitri Lortkipanidze’s claim as if Bidzina Kulumbegov said that the Pfizer vaccine was created within two months instead of two years and therefore poses a threat is false. Lortkipanidze quotes Kulumbegov manipulatively. In fact, Kulumbegov said that Pfizer will be tracking the participants of clinical trials for the next two years; he, however, did not say that the vaccine poses a threat because it was created in an accelerated manner. The Georgian immunologist said that as a rule, side effects are revealed within 30 days after vaccination. He also noted that vaccines and drugs have accompanying risks, but the risks posed by COVID-19 are much severe.
What did Bidzina Kulumbegov actually say?
In the interview with Alt-TV on January 12, Bidzina Kulumbegov spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccination. Speaking about two American pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, Bidzina Kulumbegov noted that the vaccines manufactured by them showed to have 95% efficacy. He also stressed that the vaccine has not caused either death or critical illness among the vaccinated individuals. In response to the journalist’s comment, who said that ‘we do not know what long-term side effects the coronavirus vaccine may have,’ Kulumbegov noted that it is important to assess the risks and benefits; any drug may have potential risks, he continued, but side effects are mainly revealed within 30 days after injection. Kulumbegov also said that Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have passed through the three phases of clinical trials and these vaccines showed no serious side effects. Although Bidzina Kulumbegov also mentions Pfizer and its two-year-long monitoring, Dimitri Lortkipanidze quotes him out of context. In fact, Kulumbegov said that the company Pfizer would be watching the participants of clinical trials for the next two years. He did not say that the vaccine trials should have lasted for two years and since it was created earlier, it is a regrettable fact or poses any threat.
The only thing the Georgian immunologist says about the long-term effects of the vaccine is that the process of vaccination was launched a month ago and we could not know all possible nuances; accordingly, there may be some risks, because what may not be revealed in 30,000 people may be revealed in 3,000,000,000 people.
Besides Alt-TV, Bidzina Kulumbegov has made multiple statements about vaccines in the interviews with other media outlets, noting that Georgia will definitely receive a safe vaccine, because, according to him, after a vaccine is placed on the COVAX platform, its safety is guaranteed.
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