Gender disregarded in proposed Covid vaccine roll-out

05/10/20 . News

Gender will not be considered when it comes to providing a Covid vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises UK health departments on immunisation, has updated its 'interim advice' on how any vaccine for Covid-19 will be rolled out. Gender is totally disregarded. Beyond the understandable prioritisation of health care workers, targeting is almost entirely on the basis of age.

People will be offered the vaccine in the following order:

  • older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers
  • all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
  • all those 75 years of age and over
  • all those 70 years of age and over
  • all those 65 years of age and over
  • high-risk adults under 65 years of age
  • moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
  • all those 60 years of age and over
  • all those 55 years of age and over
  • all those 50 years of age and over
  • rest of the population

Will men be considered high or moderate risk adults? It appears not. Gender is not mentioned in the JCVI's section on 'risk groups' which focuses on ethnicity, deprivation and underlying conditions.

Indeed, the JCVI statement mentions men just once in its advice in the rather vague sentence: 'Male gender also appears to be associated with increased mortality from COVID-19.' The fact is that at any given age, men are twice as likley to die from Covid-19 than women. We must hope that any vaccine campaign will specifically target men even if it does not prioritise them.

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