According to the order of the Minister of Health, from 22 July, the foreign nationals residing in Georgia can get the COVID-19 vaccines. However, immunization is not accessible for all foreign nationals in Georgia.
COVID vaccine is not accessible for undocumented migrants. Such migrants are particularly vulnerable in general. Because of the lack of relevant legal status, their access to multiple services is limited. In the global pandemic, the social, economic, and health conditions of undocumented migrants are even more at risk. Limitation on vaccination endangers their life and health and, at the same time, contributes to the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, the foreign citizens living in Georgia who had to cross the Georgian border during the last three months to ensure their legal stay in the country cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine. For example, citizens of those countries with visa-free travel in Georgia have the right to enter and stay in Georgia without a visa for a year. There is no reasonable justification for equating these foreign nationals with the tourists visiting the country for a short time, as this category of foreigners has been living in Georgia for more than three months and had to cross the border and return because of objective reasons.
Besides this, restrictions within the ordinance N322 of the Government of Georgia on the Approval of Isolation and Quarantine Rules that came into force on April 15 are still in force. According to these restrictions, the students traveling from the Republic of India can enter Georgia only by charter flights. Furthermore, charter flights are administered insufficiently or are not organized at all. As a result, students have not been able to return to Georgia to pursue their studies.
We call on the Government and the Inter-Agency Coordination Council of the Government, created for the management of pandemic-related issues:
1. To make the COVID-19 vaccine available for undocumented migrants. To find the solution for their vaccination that, despite their legal status, will enable the undocumented migrants to be vaccinated without hindrance;
2. To make COVID-19 vaccines available for foreign nationals legally residing in Georgia, who have recently crossed the border of Georgia for objective, justified reasons;
3. To lift charter flight-related restrictions for Indian students and enable them to arrive in Georgia via regular flights.