Young medical students became active advocates for COVID-19 vaccination thanks to UNICEF and USAID joint campaign in Georgia
TBILISI, Georgia, 26 April 2022 – More than 3000 people in mountainous villages and regions with ethnic minority population learned about the prevention measures against COVID-19, including vaccination, thanks to the campaign organized with active participation of young people. The campaign was led by medical students from five universities and was organized by UNICEF and the Association of Immunization and Vaccinology (AIVA) with support from USAID.
The campaign, with the slogan “You can end this pandemic!”, targeted young people in Adjara, Kvemo Kartli and Samtskhe-javakheti and shared evidence-based information about COVID-19, its possible complications and prevention measures, and focused on why vaccination against COVID-19 was important.
As part of the project, a students’ network “MEDiators” was established. Up to 500 MEDiators underwent training of trainers to improve their understanding about the existing vaccination process and the available vaccines. The trainings were led by Maia Gotua, Prof. M.D. Ph.D. General Director of the Center of Allergy and Immunology, Vice President of Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; Archil Marshania M.D. Anesthesiologist and Tamar Ratishvili M.D. member of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic.
After the initial training, the MEDiators engaged in field-based in hard-to-reach villages of mountainous Adjara, as well as ethnic minority communities in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. More than 3000 people participated in more than 10 events held. During the events, the students set up a visually prominent stand in the center of the village, where local population, especially young people, received latest and reliable information about COVID-19 vaccination in a fun and engaging way. The students also assisted the local population in registering for vaccination and distributed latest information - brochures and fliers in Armenian and Azerbaijani languages, targeting ethnic minorities. Additional 200 000 young people received the information about COVID-19 vaccination through social media.
As part of the partnership, Memoranda of Cooperation were signed with the Tbilisi State University, the Tbilisi State Medical University, Davit Tvildiani Medical University, the Batumi State University and BAU Batumi International University to engage students of medical faculties in disseminating information about COVID-19 vaccines.
UNICEF has been actively supporting the Government in promoting COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia. The ongoing project “The Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Georgia” with financial support from USAID has further helped the Government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the overall impact of the pandemic through: risk communication and community engagement; improved infection, prevention and control measures and water, sanitation and hygiene services; and provision of critical equipment and supplies to strengthen health services for the prevention and management of COVID-19, including COVID-19 vaccination and eHealth services.
About USAID in Georgia: As the leading development agency of the U.S. Government, USAID supports Georgia to build the capacity to plan, finance, and implement its own solutions to development challenges. USAID has worked in Georgia since 1992, supporting the country’s transformation into a developing democracy that is increasingly integrated into Western political, security, and economic institutions. More than 30 USAID programs strengthen Georgia's resilience to malign influence, consolidate democratic gains through enhanced citizen responsive governance, and enable high-value employment through increased economic growth. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/georgia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/