Why vaccinating women against COVID-19 is a challenge in some parts of the world

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The vast majority of health care workers on the planet are women. However, women are far less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19. That gender gap is primarily occurring in less developed nations.

“Women are 70 percent of the people getting COVID, but they’re only 25 percent of the people getting COVID vaccines,” said Emily Janoch, Director for Knowledge Management and Learning for CARE USA.

“You see these huge gaps happening because women have less access to transportation. They have less access to health care. They’re busy at home taking care of the rest of their family. It’s harder for them to leave their houses. Sometimes they have to ask permission. All of that makes it incredibly challenging.”

In some countries, cultural barriers add to the difficulty of getting women vaccinated or tested.

“So, in places, you see, women are less likely to test positive than men. They’re not even allowed to get the test because if they get the test, they’re going to have a male doctor, they may have male health care professionals, they may end up in a quarantine center that doesn’t have a safe space set up for women,” Janoch said.

While not every state in the United States breaks down male vs. female vaccination rates, those that do tend to show women are slightly more vaccinated than men. The opposite is true in countries like Iraq, India, and South Sudan.

New strains of COVID-19, like the delta variant, come from other parts of the world. They eventually make their way to the U.S. Janoch said getting to an 80 percent global vaccination rate is key to stopping that from happening.

“All of that delays our ability to get back on track. It delays everybody’s ability, and the more any economy is at risk, the more connected we are, the more that slows down everybody’s recovery around the world.”

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