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Women Left Behind in India’s Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign | India News

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BENGALURU: Far more men in India have received Covid-19 vaccines than women, government data showed on Tuesday, highlighting the gender disparity in the country’s immunization campaign that has also hurt the rural population.
India has fully or partially vaccinated some 101 million men, almost 17% more than women. Men represent 54% of all vaccinated people, according to the data.
Many federally run regions, the capital Delhi, and large states like Uttar Pradesh have experienced some of the worst inequalities. Only Kerala in the south and Chhattisgarh in central India have vaccinated more women than men.
“We are noticing that men, especially in towns and villages, prefer to be vaccinated before women as they have to travel for work, while women are relegated to housework,” said Prashant Pandya, medical superintendent of a large government hospital in the western state of Gujarat.
Health officials say rumors about vaccines that interrupt women’s menstrual cycles and reduce fertility have also contributed to the skewed data. The government has dismissed the concerns.
“The government will have to step up awareness programs in rural India to ensure that women understand the importance of vaccines and prioritize themselves in this race to secure the two injections,” said Sudha Narayanan, a former bureaucrat who worked at the Ministry of Health in New Delhi. .
Women will have to step up to get vaccinated or the gap will widen quickly, Narayanan added.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has about 6% more men than women.
A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Health and Family Welfare did not respond to Reuters questions about the gender disparity.
Some women in rural Gujarat and neighboring Rajasthan state have urged authorities to deliver vaccines at their doorstep, saying they cannot travel to hospitals leaving their children behind.
“I can’t read or write, how do I register for the vaccine?” Said Laxmiben Suthar, a mother of four in the Gujarat city of Vadnagar. “The government must send us the medicine.”
India’s vaccination policy has evolved rapidly, but the federal government has so far resisted requests for door-to-door immunizations as vaccines have only been licensed for emergency use and recipients need to be monitored for a short period. time to detect any adverse reactions.
Urban Indians are also receiving Covid-19 injections much faster than the hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside, government data shows. That’s partly due to a policy that helped wealthier cities buy more vaccine doses than rural districts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reversed the policy on Monday, saying the vaccines will be offered free of charge to all adults starting June 21. The government will also facilitate more walk-in vaccinations following complaints about the online registration process.
India has administered 233.7 million doses so far, the most in the world after China and the United States, but has administered the two necessary doses to only about 5% of its estimated 950 million adults.
India has the second highest number of coronavirus infections in the world after the United States, with a total of nearly 29 million cases, according to data from the Health Ministry. The country has suffered 351,309 deaths.



Times of India

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