New Delhi: Women accounted for 48.7 per cent of the beneficiaries who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the country till December 8, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether the number of women getting vaccinated against the coronavirus in the country was low due to a lack of awareness, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said at the beginning of the nationwide Covid inoculation programme, pregnancy and lactation were contraindications for vaccination.

On the basis of a review of the available scientific evidence, recommendations of domain knowledge experts and stakeholder consultation, the Ministry of Health approved vaccination of lactating women on May 19 and of pregnant women on July 2.

“As on December 8, 2021, 48.70 per cent of the total Covid vaccine doses were administered to women, which approximates to the estimated proportion of women in the country’s population, which is 48 per cent,” the minister said.

Further, the states and the Union territories have been provided with detailed guidance on preparing counselling and vaccination plans for pregnant women. A communication strategy is also in place, which is being implemented across all the states with a focus to sustain vaccine confidence, she added.

Responding to a separate question, Pawar said as on December 1, a total of 124.11 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the country. A total of 78.9 crore beneficiaries have received at least one dose and 45.2 crore have received both doses of the vaccines.

Amongst the fully-vaccinated beneficiaries, around 7.94 crore are aged 60 years and above, 12.1 crore are aged between 45 and 59 years and 22.56 crore are aged between 18 and 44 years, the minister said.

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