India

India's gender inequity in vaccinations narrows

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A woman receives a dose of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, at a drive-in vaccination kiosk in Ahmedabad, India, May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

NEW DELHI, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The gender disparity in India's COVID-19 immunisation drive has narrowed, government data showed on Wednesday, as pregnant women are now allowed to get their shots and authorities try to dispel rumours about fertility.

Women have received about 47% of the 481 million vaccine doses administered in India, nearly in line with the gender ratio in the country, the data showed. Men have now received 13% more doses than women, compared with about 17% in early June. read more

India officially started vaccinating pregnant women only in July and has been running ground-level campaigns to encourage them to get their shots, according to the government. It has also sent teams of grassroots health workers to towns and villages to dispel fears that vaccines affect fertility.

A communication strategy is in place which is being implemented across "sustain vaccine confidence", the health ministry told parliament on Tuesday, highlighting the efforts to reach out to more women.

India has administered the most number of coronavirus vaccine doses in the world after China, according to the government's Co-Win website, but lags many countries in terms of per capita inoculations. The country wants to immunize all its adult population of 944 million by December and has given at least one dose to nearly 40% of them.

It has reported about 31.8 million coronavirus infections, the most of any country except the United States, with more than 425,000 deaths.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das

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