New Study Reveals Gender Gap With COVID-19 Vaccinations

Even though women are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than men, many women still have a lot of questions about what specific side effects the vaccine might have for them.

Video Transcript

- There's a new study out that shows that there's a growing gender gap in the race to get vaccinated, and it's men who they say aren't rolling up their sleeves. In the United States, women are getting vaccinated at a 10% higher rate than men, even though the adult population is split about 50-50. That's concerning health leaders, because worldwide, men are about two and a half times more likely to die of COVID. Public health organizers in cities like Los Angeles, where just 30% of men have gotten the shot, compared with 44% of women, say they're planning outreach targeted to men.

So even though women are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than men, many women still have a lot of questions specific to what side effects the vaccine might have for them. And there's a lot of misinformation out there about whether the vaccine affects pregnancy or infertility. I talked to Dr. Grace Ferguson, an OBGYN with Allegheny Health Network, to get answers.

DR. GRACE FERGUSON: Feels like a lot of people are just kind of waiting. I know that the women who are super enthusiastic really express themselves, and I hear about it. But when I think of all my patients as a whole, I do think there is some hesitancy in there. I also tell people that I am breastfeeding and I got the vaccine, because I think it's amazing that we can pass immunity and this benefit to my baby. And that my pregnant OBGYN colleagues have also all unanimously gotten the vaccine.

- Dr. Ferguson said she wants to relate to her patients, and reminds them she's breastfeeding. She got the vaccine, her colleagues got the vaccine, and she says that in order to try to ease her patients' concerns. Since vaccination, some women reported changes to their cycles. And after the pause of the J&J vaccine, many women started looking into the numbers surrounding blood clots. If the J&J clotting stats are enough to pause the J&J vaccine, what about birth control? Here's what Dr. Ferguson said to those two topics.

DR. GRACE FERGUSON: Just a young woman of birth control age is around 1 to 5 in 10,000. If you add birth control to that, it becomes, like, 3 to 9 in 10,000. So, yeah, it is increasing. And it's almost three to four times as much. But the number is still really low. And then the risk of blood clots if you are pregnant is 65 in 10,000. And so we have to take the big picture.

So, yes, your risk of blood clotting on birth control pills is higher than it would be if you didn't take birth control pills and you're a healthy young woman. But your risk of blood clots in pregnancy is incredibly more. But I wouldn't be surprised, and I think it could be really normal that your menstrual cycle could change a little bit if you have the vaccine.

- Dr. Ferguson said the reason is because the menstrual cycle is inflammatory, and your body is busy working to build that immunity after you receive the vaccine shot. She said she believes that it's nothing of concern for most people.