Occupied regions need help with vaccine
The situation in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, as well as in the rest of Georgia, has deteriorated sharply. The situation is especially difficult in Tskhinvali, which is the result of the complete isolation of the region.[1]

According to the official data of August 2, 66 new cases were confirmed in occupied Tskhinvali, bringing the total number of cases to 4,281; 3,684 people have recovered from the virus, while the number of dead is unknown.
According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, the statistics produced in Tskhinvali are unreliable, incomplete and false. Seriously ill patients are transferred to Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, where the death toll is not accurately reflected in any of the statistical data.[2] Offering Tskhinvali residents to transport a patient to Vladikavkaz for treatment is associated with lethality, which once again underscores the unreliability of statistics and wrong health policies.[3]

The situation is dire in Akhalgori as well, where locals have been waiting for months to move to Tbilisi-controlled areas for medical treatment. Corruption works successfully, as socio-economically disadvantaged patients, who have no influential acquaintances, have to wait for months to get a permit to cross the so-called border.

Vaccination in the Tbilisi-controlled area is a problem for people living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Due to the lack of access to the Internet and information, people, despite their desire, are unable to get vaccinated. Access to information on Covid-19, vaccination and other thematic issues is also a problem for locals.

According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, it was officially announced in Tskhinvali that testing for Covid-19 is free, although in reality, reagents are no longer in stock. Residents are forced to apply to private clinics, where antibody testing costs up to GEL 90. Private clinics are owned by local officials and individuals close to the authorities. Patients placed in the quarantine zone are provided with personal protective equipment and disinfectants by the family, as clinics cannot provide the equipment. Hospitals are overcrowded in the region, the situation is extremely dire. According to locals, patients cannot receive enough attention; information about the virus and Covid statistics are hidden.
Only Russian vaccines are available in South Ossetia. Initially, vaccination was possible only in Tskhinvali. At this stage, it is possibile to get vaccinated in Akhalgori as well, although no one, not even the medical staff, has been vaccinated there. Confidence in the Russian vaccine is very low, some do not trust the country of production, while some do not believe in the existence of the virus at all. According to the current data, 747 people have been vaccinated in Tskhinvali, 415 of them twice. The death toll is not public, and in order to improve statistics and "manage" the virus, the seriously ill patients are usually transferred to North Ossetia.

Last week, Covid patients living in Tskhinvali refused treatment in Vladikavkaz and tried to move to the Tbilisi-controlled territory, but in vain. Currently patients are being transported from Akhalgori, although only one patient was transported from Tskhinvali, who is believed to have died. Talking about the lethal consequences of the virus, disseminating information or producing statistics is strictly confidential. These issues are not covered in the local media; no information is released about the infection of children with Covid-19. Anti-vaccine opinions are popular in South Ossetia.

As of August 1, in occupied Abkhazia, 22,083 were infected, 17,806 had recovered and 307 had died.[4]

The number of severe cases has increased in the Gali district over the past week. 300 people were tested, of which 80 tested positive for the virus, 35 of them are seriously ill. All of them were transported to the Rukhi Hospital. Due to the tourist season, the incidence of the virus has risen sharply in Sokhumi, Gagra and Bichvinta, which is directly related to the lack of regulation and control of the crossing of the border from Russia.[5]

At the beginning of July, shortly after the opening of the so-called border with Tbilisi, a vaccination center was set up in Rukhi and the residents of Gali began active registration for the vaccine, some of them for Sinopharm and most of them for Pfizer. According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, locals hope that if there is access to the Pfizer vaccine in Rukhi, the majority of the population will get vaccinated.

The Democracy Research Institute calls on the Georgian authorities to:
  • Prioritize vaccination of the population living in the occupied territories. Open vaccination spaces at the so-called border, where vaccination will be possible without prior registration
  • Ensure timely delivery of medical services/medicines to people living in Tskhinvali and Abkhazia. Therefore, it is necessary for the State to start working to address these issues, as well as to simplify sevices for patients from Gali and Akhalgori
  • Facilitate the supply of medicines and other medical equipment to the hospitals located in the occupied territories; Hand over Covid tests and Covid vaccine to occupied Tskhinvali and Abkhazia; Establish communication lines with Tskhinvali medical personnel to share experience in virus management and treatment
  • Use all mechanisms to achieve the opening of crossing points closed in recent years.

[1] Radio Liberty, 2021, "Many are infected in the de facto parliament, "MPs" take a leave", available at:
[2] Radio Liberty, 2021, "The Covid situation in Tskhinvali is getting worse, the de facto authorities are re-imposing old regulations", available at:
[3] Radio Liberty, 2021, "The seriously ill are transferred from Tskhinvali to Vladikavkaz instead of Tbilisi", available at:
[4], 2021, „COVID-19 – All news, available at:, last accessed: 03.08.2021.
[5] Ekhokavkaza, 2021, „172 residents of Abkhazia test positive for coronavirus in the last day“, available at:, accessed: 03.08.2021.