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Manpreet Singh
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Many more men in India have received COVID-19 vaccines than women as per the latest government data released on Tuesday. This highlighting gender disparity in the immunisation drive. It has also disadvantaged the rural population. Men account for 54% of the total number of people inoculated, according to the data. Regions such as the capital Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have seen some of the worst disparity. Only in south and in central India have vaccinated more women than men. Rumours about vaccines disrupting women’s menstruation cycle and reducing fertility have also contributed to the problem. However, the government has rejected the concerns.
The government is not responding to the question regarding the disparity in a positive manner, and hence they are not talking any concrete steps regarding this problem. The government should ramp up the awareness programmes in rural India, in order to ensure women understand the importance of vaccines and prioritise themselves in this race to get vaccinated. They have to step forward to get vaccinated or the divide will rapidly widen. The problem is concerning because with a population of 1.3 billion, India has about 6% more men than women. Women welfare groups in the rural parts have urged the authorities to deliver vaccines at their doorstep. The problem lies because of the fact that they are unable to travel to hospitals leaving their children behind.

India’s vaccination policy has evolved fast but the door-to-door immunisations has been weak. Given that the vaccines have only been authorised for emergency use and recipients need to be monitored for a short period for any adverse reactions. Urban Indians are also getting COVID-19 shots much faster than the hundreds of millions of people living in the rural area. That is partly due to a policy that helped tier 1 cities than rural districts.

India has so far administered 233.7 million doses, but given the necessary two doses to only about 5% of its estimated 950 million adults with a wide gender gap. The government should crack down this issue instead of outrightly ignoring it as India has the world’s second-largest number of coronavirus infections after the United States, with total cases at nearly 29 million, according to health ministry data. The country has suffered 351,309 deaths.