NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to chief secretaries of all states to close the gender gap in Covid vaccination amid concerns that a large number of women, as compared to men, are not benefitting from the drive launched nearly 8 months back.
The national dashboard maintained by the Union Health Ministry shows that 28.03 crore males and 24.91 crore women have received shots against coronavirus in India so far and this marks a difference of nearly 12% between the two genders.
The gap in immunisation coverage between the two genders is a matter of great concern for the Commission, said a statement from the Union Women and Child Development Ministry on Friday.
In the letter, it added that the NCW chairperson, Rekha Sharma, has argued that there is an urgent need to increase the proportion of women coming to vaccination booths for receiving the vaccine so that the gap in immunization coverage can be corrected.
The letter also shared with health secretaries of all the states, underlined that there is also a need to create public health awareness so that more and more women are vaccinated on priority.
The Commission said that it appears that the current gender gap in administering vaccines is significantly more among the elderly population than the younger females.
“It reflects the existing gender stereotypes in the society due to which women are being left behind and the reasons include unequal access to resources and technology for both genders,” wrote Sharma.
She also highlighted that in many households, women’s health is not considered a priority as compared to men if they do not work outside the home and end up getting less preference for vaccination.
“However, women being the primary caregivers are more likely to get infected while taking care of any sick member of the family,” she has written.
Some research studies carried out by scientists attached with various organisations in recent months have shown that while the percentage of women infected with Covid19 may be lesser in India, their death rate—after the infection—was higher compared to men, mostly due to lack of access to healthcare.