Sun | Jun 13, 2021

More men dying from COVID, but fewer getting vaccinated

Published:Friday | May 14, 2021 | 9:39 AM
Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Melody Ennis. To date, 146,147 Jamaicans have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

While men are dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionately higher rate than women, the Ministry of Health and Wellness says fewer males are getting vaccinated.

It was disclosed that the vaccination rate for men is 45% while the rate for women is 57%.

During a virtual press conference held Thursday evening to provide an update on the Ministry's COVID-19 vaccination plan, Director of Family Health Services Dr Melody Ennis posited that the higher COVID-19 death rate among men may be due to them not seeking to confirm any underlying health conditions that they may have.

“What we have noticed is that we continue to have more females than males accepting this vaccine. Our deaths in-country, and indeed across the world, are seeing more males dying, and there are lots of theories as to why this may happen,” said Ennis.

“Their health-seeking behaviour is a little bit different from females, and as such, they do not go in and get their underlying conditions checked. We recognise that we have that challenge, and of course, we implore our gentlemen to come out and get the vaccine.”

Between March 10 and May 11, 63,319 men across Jamaica have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine compared to 82,827 women.

Of the overall 47,020 confirmed cases recorded up to Wednesday, 20,706 have been men and 26,311 have been women.

And there have been 464 deaths among men compared to 370 women who died from the virus.

National Epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster-Kerr, who also addressed the press conference, dismissed suggestions that the difference in the numbers indicated a higher level of vaccine scepticism among men.

“The figures speak to the risk of dying rather than to the vaccination, so males in Jamaica and around the world seem to have a higher risk of dying once they have contracted COVID-19. This is why we promote that the men get on board with vaccination to decrease their risk of severe disease and death,” said Webster-Kerr.

To date, 146,147 Jamaicans have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the South East Regional Health Authority reporting the highest vaccination rate at 46 percent.

This is followed by the Southern Regional Health Authority at 21 percent, the Western Regional Health Authority at 20 percent, and the North East Regional Health Authority at 13 percent.

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