Many more men in India have received COVID-19 vaccines than women, government data showed on Tuesday, 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.
“We are noticing that men, especially in towns and villages, prefer to take the vaccine before women as they have to travel for work, while women are relegated to domestic chores,” said Prashant Pandya, medical superintendent at a big government hospital in the western state of Gujarat.
Health officials say rumours about vaccines disrupting women’s menstruation cycle and reducing fertility have