Georgia Sharing knowledge to Armenia to strengthen immunization legislation

Armenia and Georgia, members of Learning Network for Countries in Transition (LNCT) participated in the twinning program on immunization legislation In February 2020. The twinning program was hosted by Curatio International Foundation. Armenian delegation represented by the Ministry of Health and the National Center for Disease Control visited representatives of the Parliament, Ministries of Health and Education and the National CDC in Tbilisi to exchange experience on immunization legislation for improved vaccine uptake and discuss Georgia’s recent experience on mandatory vaccination.

One of the program participants Svetlana Grigoryan shares her thoughts on the Armenia delegation visit in Georgia. Svetlana is a head of the Immunization and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Department and Armenian Center for Disease Control.

Svetlana, What is immunization coverage in Armenia?

In the context of increased vaccine hesitancy movement in Armenia for the past several years, the level of immunization coverage has decreased.  Compared to 2018, in 2019 the coverage dropped by 0.6 percent to 89.2 percent and the trend still continues, therefore we apply all the measures to stop the trend and increase the coverage.

How do you think the Twinning program will meet your needs?

During the program we hope to learn about Georgia’s experience on the introduction of mandatory immunization, how the adoption of this policy has helped you, which aspects were considered, what are people’s concerns since the introduction, both before and after the introduction, which fields did you work in, how did the introduction process go, what have been the outcomes since the introduction, how has this helped Georgia… and how can that be applicable to Armenia?

What was the most interesting topic in the mandatory immunization, which you have learned about through this program?

The process itself was rather interesting, the way the initiative was launched, the way the Parliament worked on the project, the way the NCDC supported the Parliament, what was the role of the Ministries of Health and Education, how their positions mismatched or met in some aspects and what kind of decision was made ultimately, what kind of consensus was reached – and everything this was rather interesting, everything was described in detail, both in the Parliament and NCDC and the Ministry of Education, tomorrow we will also listen to the Ministry of Health, however, we already have shaped a general view, that the most important point was to convey to the population that vaccination is mandatory and that this is done for the benefit of their health. As for imposing penalties or some restrictions, for example, not to admit to school – this question has taken a backseat.

And how do you think, will mandatory immunization be a solution for Armenia or not?

It is still difficult to say, the discussions are still underway as to whether to introduce or not to introduce, and this Twinning program has helped a lot to shape a clearer view on how this could be introduced to Armenia… However, the topic is still under discussion, I cannot say yet that this is the measure that would help Armenia because the situation is a bit different, there was no outbreak in Armenia, in Georgia there was a measles outbreak, which had pushed the country to make the decision, the epidemiological situation is better in Armenia, and I do not know how this is … to what extent this is acceptable for Armenia.

What would be your next steps after you come back to Armenia if you have already planned them?

Yes, in the first place, I will pass the information to our management about whatever we have heard here – all these experience – to the Ministry of Health and we will discuss how Georgia’s experience can help Armenia and further discuss whether to introduce the mandatory immunization or not, whether this is reasonable, we should weigh pros and cons and then make a decision, the first step I will make is to pass this information to the management.

What are your expectations, will they listen to you and share their views?

I think it would be effective to get information and use Georgia’s experience, probably there will be discussions, and there will be some decision, which would be acceptable for Armenia as well.


LNCT, a Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and Bill & Melinda Gates-funded platform, facilitates peer learning opportunities to countries recently transitioned and transitioning from Gavi financial support. LNCT facilitates knowledge exchange on relevant technical topics, builds a learning community and strengthens peer-to-peer collaboration to ensure the long-term sustainability of immunization programs. LNCT was established in 2017 and Results for Development (R4D) serves as the network coordinator and, in partnership with CIF, facilitates knowledge exchange and platform engagement with four countries in the European region: Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan.


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