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When are we going to tell men the truth about Covid?

26/01/21 . Blog

The ONS report on Covid-19-related deaths by occupation confirms again that the sex- and gender-blind approach taken by the NHS and government towards Covid isn’t consistent with reality.

Once again we see that working-age men are nearly twice as likely to die from Covid as working-age women – with more than 5,000 working-age men dying between March and December.

There are particular jobs – mostly done by men – that have seen shocking death rates – which have not had enough attention, such as cab drivers, bus drivers, security guards, chefs, pub landlords and police officers. Almost all the ambulance staff and hospital porters who died from Covid until December were men. Overall, amongst healthcare workers, men were at two-and-a-half times greater risk.

Even in jobs which are mostly female, the death rates among men are wholly disproportionate. Men are 11% of nurses, but 30% of deaths amongst nurses – and yet we’ve not even seen acknowledgement of this by NHS management, let alone any action taken.

Gender is being ignored

We are also seeing this failure to look at hard facts from the Joint Committee on Vaccination which hasn’t required the government to report vaccination uptake by sex or any other inequality group and has removed any reference to sex and gender from their recent 'advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination'.

Quite literally, the words 'sex', 'gender', 'man' or 'male' do not appear in their overall guidance – even when the papers they notionally claim to reference show these differences – particularly in the area of employment.

It’s time for action:

  • When the NHS vaccination programme comes to working age people, high risk men’s jobs must be given fair priority.
  • We need to see sex properly reflected in all workplace risk assessments.
  • Behaviour and attitudes are also different. The government has to start thinking seriously about how the government communicates to men.
  • Finally, all data needs to be reported by sex – especially the vaccination statistics. This isn’t just for the academics: if there’s any shortfall in uptake it must be clear for us all to see.

It’s also essential men know that they’re at higher risk – but if the government are silent about it, how are men expected to know?

Martin Tod
​CEO, Men's Health Forum

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.

Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.

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