Sumary of Women left behind: Gender gap emerges in Africa’s vaccines:
- ” By then, the women in Sare Gibel had heard the rumors on social media: The vaccines could make your blood stop or cause you to miscarry.
- Its lettering is now well-worn, but the women’s resolve has not softened.
- And Fatoumata Mballow, 29, struggling to get pregnant for a third time in a village where some women have as many as 10 children, quietly insists: “I don’t want to make it worse and destroy my womb.
- ” As health officials in Gambia and across Africa urge women to be vaccinated, they’ve confronted unwillingness among those of childbearing age.
- Many women worry that current or future pregnancies will be threatened and, in Africa, the success of a woman’s marriage often depends on the number of children she bears.
- Other women say they’re simply more afraid of the vaccine than the virus: As breadwinners, they can’t miss a day of work if side effects such as fatigue and fever briefly sideline them.
- Although data on gender breakdown of vaccine distribution are lacking globally, experts see a growing number of women in Africa’s poorest countries consistently missing out on vaccines.
- Officials who already bemoan the inequity of vaccine distribution between rich and poor nations now fear that the stark gender disparity means African women are the least vaccinated population in the world.