03 Jul 2021: Menstruating women denied COVID-19 jab at centers in Karnataka
Health workers at some vaccination centers in Karnataka have been asking menstruating women to take the COVID-19 shot once their cycle ends, The Times of India reported. Such incidents were reported in at least three districts - Raichur, Belagavi, and Bidar. Menstruating women were asked to return later even as government and health experts have repeatedly assured the jab is safe for them.
Details: Jab could cause heavier bleeding and fatigue, women told
Some health staffers in Raichur told women the vaccine might lead to heavier bleeding and fatigue, urging them to wait for their periods to end, local activist Vidhya Patil told TOI. The workers allegedly do not have any data to back their claims. "They are specifically asking women not to take the vaccine during the menstruation cycle (sic)," Patil said.
Quote: 'No such directive,' says Raichur district official
"I was asked to seek the jab after five to six days," said a woman in Belagavi. "I wonder why they advised me to delay the shot when there is no such directive from the health and family welfare department." Meanwhile, Raichur Deputy Commissioner R Venkatesh Kumar said there was no such directive from the government and "women are being administered vaccines."
Government: Government says the jab is safe for menstruating women
The government has assured that coronavirus vaccines are safe for all adults, including menstruating women. "The vaccine can be taken during menstrual periods. This is no reason to postpone vaccination," Dr. VK Paul, the government's top official overseeing the COVID-19 handling, had earlier said. Experts say there could be temporary changes in the menstrual cycle after vaccination but no long-term adverse effects are likely.
Fact: 4K of 22M had period problems after jab, report says
In the United Kingdom, nearly 4,000 women reported menstrual health issues such as heavier or delayed periods linked to coronavirus vaccination, The Sunday Times reported last month. By that time, over 22 million (2.2 crore) vaccine doses had been given to women in the UK.
Gender gap: A huge gender divide in India's vaccination program
The worrying news comes even as there is already a huge gender gap in India's coronavirus vaccination program. Of the total vaccine doses administered in the country, 17.48 crore (54%) were given to men while 14.99 crore (46%) to women, as per a recent report. Experts have blamed vaccination-related myths, misinformation, access issues, and patriarchal norms behind the gender divide.
Pregnant women: Pregnant women now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination
Meanwhile, on Friday, the government said that pregnant women in India are now eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Expectant mothers can register on the digital Co-WIN platform or walk in to their nearest COVID-19 vaccination center to get the shot, the government informed. Earlier, lactating women were eligible for the coronavirus vaccine even as pregnant women were kept out of the program.
Fact: How is the vaccination drive going in India?
India has so far administered over 34 crore coronavirus vaccine doses. Even though over 20% of Indians have received at least one vaccine shot, just above 4% have been fully inoculated as yet.
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