Women Are Falling Behind In India's Covid-19 Vaccination Dri
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Many more men in India have received Covid-19 vaccines than women, government data showed on June 8, highlighting gender disparity in the country's immunization drive that has also disadvantaged the rural population. India has partly or fully vaccinated about 101 million men, nearly 17% more than women. Men account for 54% of the total number of people inoculated, according to the data.

Many federally administered regions, the capital Delhi, and big states such as Uttar Pradesh have seen some of the worst inequities. Only Kerala in the south and Chhattisgarh in central India have vaccinated more women than men. Health officials say rumors about vaccines disrupting women's menstruation cycle and reducing fertility have also contributed to the skewed data. The government has rejected the concerns.

"The government will have to ramp up awareness programs in rural India to ensure women understand the importance of vaccines and prioritize themselves in this race to secure the two shots," said Sudha Narayanan, a former bureaucrat who worked in the health ministry in New Delhi.

Women will have to step forward to get vaccinated or the divide will rapidly widen, Narayanan added. India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has about 6% more men than women. Some women in the rural parts of Gujarat and neighboring Rajasthan state have urged the authorities to deliver vaccines at their doorstep, saying they are unable to travel to hospitals leaving their children behind.

India's vaccination policy has evolved fast, but the federal government has so far resisted calls for door-to-door immunizations given that the vaccines have only been authorized for emergency use and recipients need to be monitored for a short period for any adverse reactions. Urban Indians are also getting Covid shots much faster than the hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside, government data has shown.

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