Menstruating women denied COVID-19 jab at centers in Karnataka

Karnataka: Health workers at some vaccination centers in Karnataka have been asking menstruating women to take the COVID-19 shot once their cycle ends. Such incidents were reported in at least three districts – Raichur, Belagavi, and Bidar.

As per local activist Vidya Patil, some health staffers in Raichur told women the vaccine might lead to heavier bleeding and fatigue, urging them to wait for their periods to end. The workers do not have any data to back their claims.  

Meanwhile, Raichur Deputy Commissioner R Venkatesh Kumar said there was no such directive from the government and “women are being administered vaccines.” The government has assured that coronavirus vaccines are safe for all adults, including menstruating women.

In fact, Dr. VK Paul, government’s top official overseeing the COVID-19 handling had earlier said, “The vaccine can be taken during menstrual periods.” Experts say there could be temporary changes in menstrual cycle after vaccination but no long-term adverse effects are likely.

There is already a huge gender gap in India’s vaccination program. Of the total vaccine doses administered in the country, 54% were given to men while 46% to women. Experts have blamed vaccination-related myths, access issues, and patriarchal norms behind the gender divide.

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