Coronavirus pandemic is creating a condom shortage – and making it difficult for women to get birth control
Factories across the globe are being forced to shut down and this may cause a condom shortage, according to Business Insider.
Karex Bhd, a condom manufacturer in Malaysia that is responsible for one out of every five condoms sold worldwide, has not made a condom in the past ten days. Because of the mandatory government shutdown, Reuters reported.
As of this weekend, the company is already behind on about 100 million condoms. With this looming decrease in safe sex practices, they’ve been granted a reopen – but only with 50 percent of its workforce.
Due to the temporary pause on production, Chief Executive of Karex Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters they will struggle now to meet the demands and that this global shortage “is going to be scary.”
“My concern is that for a lot of humanitarian programs deep down in Africa, the shortage will not just be two weeks or a month. That shortage can run into months.”
Countries like China, India and Thailand are also mass producers for condoms, are also seeing incredible shutdowns as their number in cases surge – which will increase the condom shortage.
Typically, Karex’s facility can make 100 million condoms in a 10-day period. Then, those condoms are then sold and distributed by brands like Durex.
Goh of Karex is pleased that there is still a demand for his products and says that safe contraception is “an essential to have.”
“Given that at this point in time people are probably not planning to have children. It’s not the time, with so much uncertainty,” he said.
The pandemic is also making it more difficult for women to get birth control.
With mandatory shutdowns, navigating a complicated healthcare system and stress about insurance coverage – women of all ages are wondering how they can get their birth control.
States and insurance companies have different policies that determine how many months of birth control a patient can be prescribed at once. Making it difficult for people to “stock up,” as advised by state leaders.
The lack of over-the-counter birth control is reproductive activists have been fighting for. Britt Wahlin, vice president for development and public affairs at Ibis Reproductive Health told Vice the convenience of picking up bathroom essential like deodorant and feminine products and your birth control cannot be overlooked.
“If people can’t leave their homes or are being advised to avoid health clinics unless they’re really sick, this is the moment that highlights why an over-the-counter birth control option would really help people overcome those barriers,” Wahlin told Vice.