On May 15, Obieqtivi TV’s program ნამდვილი ამბები (Real News) focused on the epidemiological situation and the process of vaccination in the country with its journalist asking Georgian homeopath Tina Topuria for comments. Topuria, who was referred to as an epidemiologist by Obieqtivi TV, said that vaccination is dangerous for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients. Topuria claims that people should undergo PCR tests before getting vaccinated to determine whether they are infected with the coronavirus. The program aired at 20:30 on May 15 provides no comments from other respondents. Topuria’s comment from the same story can also be viewed at 2:22:18 in an eight-hour long live video shared to Obieqtivi TV’s Facebook page.
Topuria’s claim as if vaccination is dangerous for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and may cause complications is disinformation. In the absence of respiratory symptoms, there is no need to undergo PCR testing before vaccination. Myth Detector reached out to Georgian allergist-immunologist, Bidzina Kulumbegov over the issue, who confirmed that vaccination causes no complications in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.
provax.ge, a platform created by the Georgian government, provides information about the cases when vaccination is not recommended. Infection with COVID-19 is one of such cases, because according to the guidelines acting in Georgia, vaccination can be carried out four months after a patient tests positive. The guidelines, however, say nothing about the fact that asymptomatic patients should undergo PCR testing. Neither does the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) see any need for testing. Instead, it says that vaccination is not recommended for patients with respiratory symptoms, headache, weakness, etc. In such cases, vaccination should be postponed. However, Dr. Michelle Barron, an infectious disease doctor, notes that if a person has no symptoms and is feeling well, no testing prior is required.
Myth Detector reached out to Georgian allergist-immunologist, Bidzina Kulumbegov who clarified in his written comments that vaccination is not dangerous for asymptomatic patients.
Doctors provide the following reasons why vaccination should be postponed if people test positive for COVID-19 and show symptoms or why patients should wait for a certain period of time after recovering:
- When we have COVID-19 symptoms, we are contagious and may potentially expose others to illness. Therefore, we should delay our appointment.
- After recovering from COVID-19, a human body produces natural immunity that is maintained for at least three months. Thus, with limited number of vaccines, it is better to vaccinate more vulnerable people.
Who is Tina Topuria?
Tina Topuria is a homeopath and an active anti-vaxxer, not an epidemiologist as referred to by Obieqtivi TV. Myth Detector has verified disinformation spread by her on multiple occasions. It is noteworthy that amid the spread of anti-vaccination sentiments and conspiracy theories, Tina Topuria is known for her loyal attitude towards Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V and unlike western vaccines, she spreads no disinformation about Sputnik V.
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