Tue | Jul 27, 2021

More men dying from COVID, but fewer getting vaccinated

Published:Saturday | May 15, 2021 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Captain Kerron Speid receiving his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the May Pen hospital in Clarendon on April 26.
Captain Kerron Speid receiving his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the May Pen hospital in Clarendon on April 26.
Correctional Officers Jovan Bedward (left) and Javier Bascoe display the COVID-19 vaccination cards, after receiving the two doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
Correctional Officers Jovan Bedward (left) and Javier Bascoe display the COVID-19 vaccination cards, after receiving the two doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

While men are reported as dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionately higher rate than women, the Ministry of Health says that men’s rate of COVID-19 vaccination to date is 43 per cent, trailing behind women’s vaccination rate of 57 per cent.

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

MEN ACROSS JAMAICA

Between March 10 and May 11, 63,319 men across Jamaica got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine compared to 82,827 women. Of the 47,020 confirmed cases recorded up to Wednesday, 20,706 have been men and 26,311 have been women, but 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 per cent. This is followed by the Southern Regional Health Authority at 21 per cent, the Western Regional Health Authority at 20 per cent, and the North East Regional Health Authority at 13 per cent.

The Ministry of Health has also announced a reduction in the age limit for persons eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, with persons 50 years and older now able to access vaccines. The previous limit was for persons 60 years and older.