Women report stronger reactions to COVID-19 vaccine than men

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Liana Fonseca looks away as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Miami. Thousands packed the mass vaccination site at Miami Dade College, many waiting three hours or more to get the vaccine. By mid morning the site had ran out of the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine an only the Pfizer vaccine was available. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Women are overwhelmingly reporting stronger reactions than men to receiving COVID-19 vaccines.  

Those findings in a new report out by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control.   

Nearly 80 percent of women reported having some type of reaction to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, as detailed in a Centers for Disease Control report.

“Not so much if you’re talking about Moderna and Pfizer with the first shot, but with the second jab, many more side-effects in females than males,” Dr. John Swartzberg said.

“Not so much if you’re talking about Moderna and Pfizer with the first shot, but with the second jab, many more side-effects in females than males,” Dr. John Swartzberg said.

Dr. John Swartzberg with UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health says side effects include headache, fatigue, dizziness, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. 

“It’s certainly behavioral, other aspects from a biologic perspective that I’ve been proposing include genetics, specifically the X and Y chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, and it turns out that many of the immune genes are linked to the X chromosome,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist with UCSF says the sex hormone estrogen may also explain the different reactions between genders. 

Both say women having stronger side effects to vaccines has a long documented history and one which they say needs to be better understood.  

“It just really reflects how little we understand in terms of sex differences in the way that we standardize dosing,” Dr. Chin-Hong said.

Yet one thing is clear, the response does not dictate how one sex or the other has a stronger immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

Both also say it is vital the documented side effects should not stop everyone from getting the vaccine.

No one died, the possible reaction, far outweighs the risk.

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