MINISTRY of Health spokesperson Dr Abel Kabalo says as of March 20, 2022, 1,583,950 (56%) females and 1,252,250 (44%) males were fully vaccinated.

And Non-Governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Chairperson Mary Mulenga says it is impressive that women are leading in terms of vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) executive director Mirriam Mwiinga has appealed to men to get vaccinated since their life expectancy was lower.

In an interview, Dr Kabalo also said 15,076 children, ranging from 12 to 17 years old, got dose two Pfizer and 160,929 received dose one.

“As of 20th March 2022, 1,583,950 (56%) females vaccinated fully and 1,252,250 (44%) males. 12 to 17 year olds 15,076 dose 2 Pfizer and 160,929 dose 1 Pfizer,” said Kabalo.

And in a separate interview, Mulenga said the ratio of females being vaccinated in the country was positive.

“It’s a good picture that women are leading and the reason why the women are leading I think just on top of my head is because they say there are more women than men in terms of population. So if there are more women in terms of population we expect them to be more with the numbers so really there is neither here nor there. It is obvious why they are more,” said Mulenga.

“The women folks have been able to receive this programme positively. Despite those challenges that women may have experienced, on the positive note statistics released by the ministry of health shows that there are more women than men who are actually vaccinated and the figure stands at 56% which is impressive. The challenges that women have in terms of caregiving when someone is sick or when they are sick at least the statistics shows that women are in the majority of being vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, Mwiinga urged men to get vaccinated.

“First of all, when you look at the males and the females, when it comes to health seeking behaviors, you find that women tend to be more open to seeking health related services compared to men. It’s not just about Covid, it’s almost every health condition, women easily come out much faster than men or let me just say that women are more responsive to accepting health services compared to men. Another example I can give is that of HIV testing, if you look at the number of males and females that test for HIV, even in a marital setup you will find that men will rely on the test of their wives and based on that they will know whether they are safe or not. I think it is maybe the burden that we carry of taking care of others. We also tend to feel responsible for the other,” she said.

“We know that Covid is easily transmitted from one person to another so we will take full responsibility of getting vaccinated for instance, so that we don’t pass it on, we will take full responsibility rushing to the hospital when we are found positive compared to men. Men again will be more hesitant even though they are sick to get to the hospital, they don’t seek health services much earlier. So for me it is encouraging that women are leading but I expected more, with those of men we can only encourage them, that it is important for them to seek those services. Also they should bear in mind that the life expectancy of a woman is much way higher than of a man, so for me this is an opportunity for them to take seriously this opportunity that is available for them to be vaccinated because their life span is even shorter so they need to quickly get vaccinated so that they prevent themselves from further shortening their life span because of Covid.

She asked the Ministry of Health to craft more child friendly vaccination messages

“When it comes to vaccination of children, I think for me the issue is the way Covid waves started. Initially you will find that there were almost no cases that were reported among children and because of that we tended to feel that their immunity is stronger and therefore they can’t easily get Covid. So I think that it is the massaging for me that we need to change by the health personnel or by the rest of us to say that the trend that we saw at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of Covid rather is no longer the same as Covid is mutating, as it is coming in different forms it is actually affecting the children and therefore the children need to be vaccinated,” said Mwiinga.

“So for me the initial massaging at the moment, at the time Covid was so serious, is what has stuck in the minds of people. But even though we look at the statistics now we rarely hear of many children getting sick of Covid so because of that, coupled with the myths and all the misconceptions that we’ve heard about the vaccines you will find that parents are still skeptical. So meaning it’s about positive messaging now and changing the narrative. Messaging to encourage us parents to make sure that we quickly give consent for our children to be vaccinated. And the consent for those who are in school for me, should be given in the form of a paper notice, they can develop like little pieces of paper where parents can sign. So that my children would give it to me at home I sign, in that way it will be easier to account for the parents that are resistant to change or to have their children get vaccinated. It will be better if we give written consent rather than verbal consent. The majority of children are in school so if we have to catch that, for me, that’s the best route to go, produce little papers that should be given to parents to sign on and to be given to the schools and the health authorities should enter through the schools”.