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State Audit Office No Longer Questions State Immunization Program Safety

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 19
(TBILISI)--Georgia’s State Audit Office (SAO) released a statement saying they no longer question the safety of state immunization program, including the anti-rabies vaccine.

Previously, the SAO claimed that presumably 29,999 vaccines, which were dangerous for health, were used in Georgia.

According to the State Audit Office plan 2018, the audit showed that the vaccines used in Georgia could not pass the registration and had to be withdrawn by the recommendation of the World Health Organization. They were nevertheless allowed on the Georgian market by a commission despite the fact that the vaccines met the minimum standards.

However, after holding a meeting with the Ministry of Health, the SAO stated they do not question the state immunization program.

According to the statement, the preliminary inquiry revealed that the World Health Organization recommended the suspension of a specific vaccine against rabies. The SAO added the fact was one of the reasons for including the audit of the immunization program in the Audit Plan 2018.

“At the meeting the Ministry presented various arguments and evidences, including the quality of the anti- rabies vaccine. After this, we do not doubt the state immunization program safety, including the vaccine against rabies," reads the statement.

According to the head of the Disease Control Center Amiran Gamkrelidze, the controversial vaccine was brought in Georgia in 2015 in accordance with all rules.

“The vaccine was pre-qualified by the World Health Organization, was used in the whole country in 2015, and none of the side effects or serious complications have been reported,” he stated.

Gamkrelidze explained that in January 2016, when the World Health Organization withdrew a prequalification, a high quality and safe immunization guarantee, it did not mean that the vaccine had to be removed.

“However, in a month and a half after the WHO withdrew prequalification of this vaccine, we substituted it with a new vaccine and it has been used since March 20, 2016,” he added.

“Since 2015 not a single rabies cases have been reported in the country and it is one of the greatest achievements of the State Immunization Program,” the head of the Disease Control Center said.