A government minister has raised concern over the shortage of ladies on the UK’s vaccine watchdog, saying she was “shocked” to listen to concerning the overwhelming majority of males sitting on the committee.
Health minister Nadine Dorries mentioned pregnant ladies haven’t been prioritised for Covid-19 vaccine because of the robust male make-up of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The JCVI advises the federal government on its vaccine technique, having most just lately beneficial that all clinically susceptible kids aged 12 and over needs to be inoculated with the Pfizer jab.
On the federal government’s JCVI webpage, it lists 16 members – of which 12 are males and 4 are ladies. An extra 4 ladies are listed as “co-opted members” for “implementation matters”.
Ms Dorries mentioned that scientific committees taking choices about ladies’s well being ought to have a gender steadiness.
Speaking throughout a Westminster Hall debate on lowering child loss, Ms Dorries advised Labour MP Sarah Owen: “She made the point that the government needs to ensure that all pregnant women are vaccinated.
“My daughter is 32 weeks pregnant, so no-one has been extra conscious of that than me, however I’m afraid that politicians don’t make scientific choices, and the federal government will not be the JCVI – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – it’s utterly impartial. They determine who’s vaccinated.
“But I would tell (Ms Owen) that I was quite shocked to discover – after constantly asking why pregnant women aren’t being prioritised – I just took a glance at the make-up of the JCVI, to discover that it is made up of 14 men and three women.
“So I’m unsurprised on the JCVI not emphasising or prioritising pregnant ladies for vaccination.
“Again, that is a point I am raising within the department and in particular with the women’s health strategy – because maybe all scientific committees that make decisions about women’s health should have a gender balance.”
There can be a Covid-19 sub-committee of the JCVI, containing 13 males and 6 ladies.
Out of the 87 consultants serving on the federal government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, solely 29 are ladies – roughly 25 per cent.