Gender, Rural-Urban & Digital Divides in India’s COVID Vaccination

India aims to vaccinate the entire population by the end of 2021 but is it overlooking the various vaccine divides?

1 min read

India’s COVID vaccination drive is marred with all kinds of divides and inequalities. Other than the general shortage in vaccine supply, there’s a gender divide, a rural-urban divide and also a digital divide that’s holding back the country from effective vaccination.

In the past four months, since the launch of the COVID vaccination program, 1.2 crore more men got vaccinated than women in India, as evident from the CoWin portal.

A report by The Hindu also pointed out that only an estimate 12-15 percent of India's rural population have received at least one shot of vaccination, in a big contrast to approximately 30 percent of people receiving shots in urban areas.

And since the launch of Phase 3 vaccination, the CoWin portal has also come under criticism for excluding the castes and classes which fall on the lesser privileged side of the digital divide. This problem has been raised by the Supreme Court as well which asked the government to “wake up and smell the coffee.”

While these divides may look like three individual problems, in some ways these divides are also interconnected. India aims to vaccinate the entire population by the end of 2021, but has the country's vaccination program overlooked these problems? How can these inequalities be addressed for a more successful vaccination strategy?

For this episode, we spoke to Anushree Jairath, Program Coordinator, Gender Justice, ‎Oxfam India and Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, SFLC. Tune in!

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