Recent findings have shown that women are experiencing a greater number of side effects than men from the Covid-19 vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Reporting System processed 7,000 reports between December 14th and January 13th. Notably, over 79% of these reports came from women. The most common reported side effects include fatigue, dizziness and a red, itchy rash on the arm.
Fortunately, these side effects represent a positive sign that the vaccine is working by protecting the immune system against the disease. However, it does raise the question as to why women are experiencing side effects more often than men. Women reported 77% of the side effects of the Moderna vaccine. “We do have more cases that are being reported in women, but that could be that women are more likely to tell you,” said Dr Kim, a professor at Harvard Medical School. This could be due to how men behave in relation to health care. Furthermore, women are more likely to use health care services, according to the World Health Organization.
Contrarily, other health experts believe that the higher number of side effects may be due to biological reasons. Women’s vaccine responses differ from men’s as they produce more infection-fighting antibodies. “Women have a higher frequency of CD4+ T cells, also called “T helper cells,” which activate other cells from the immune system that make antibodies to combat the virus, said Dr Daniel Saban, a scientist at Duke University School of Medicine. Female hormones can also influence the immune responses, as some immune cells contain estrogen receptors. Researchers believe that gender bias was present in clinical trials, as doses are not given according to a patient’s weight. Therefore, women may have received stronger doses than necessary.