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Sex and gender in COVID-19 vaccines: data, policy, and communication


Shirin Heidari (GENDRO)


Tracey Goodman (WHO)

Lavanya Vijayasingham (UNU-IIGH)


Jean Munro (GAVI)


Apoorva Mandavilli (Journalist, The New York Times)

Prof Noni MacDonald (Dalhousie University, Canada)

Prof Saad Omer (Yale University, USA)

Amidst the unprecedented scale and speed of vaccine R&D, and the mammoth task of ‘leaving no one behind’ in the global deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, there is a need to ensure that critical sex- and gender dimensions are not ‘deprioritized’ in the evidence-generation, policy decision-making, and communication initiatives.

Stronger considerations of sex and gender factors in these areas can contribute to better science, and innovation, prevent avoidable harm, build public understanding and trust in a timely manner, and ultimately improve immunization coverage.

Some key areas that require attention and action include:

· persistent overlook of sex-and gender dimensions in clinical trials and other vaccine related research

· nuanced analysis of post-market surveillance and pharmacovigilance data that can inform sex-based difference in frequency or severity of adverse events

· the lack of data in specific populations such as in pregnant and lactating women in the initial phases of vaccine roll-out in some countries

· sex and gender dimensions on vaccine confidence, acceptability, and uptake

· transparent and accurate science reporting to clearly communicate the relevant sex and gender dimensions to lay audience

Want to know more? Check out this additional reading:

Presentation 1:

Critical sex and gender considerations for equitable research, development and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines


Presentation 2:

SDG3 GAP Gender working group /UNU-IIGH Guidance note and checklist for tackling gender-related barriers to equitable COVID-19 vaccine deployment

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