Study: Women Report More COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Than Men

A new study shows women report more adverse COVID-19 vaccine side effects than men: KDKA's Dr. Maria Simbra reports.

Video Transcript

KYM GABLE: A new study shows women are reporting more adverse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men. But there could be multiple factors behind this data. Health editor Dr. Maria Simbra has the details, new at 6:30.

MARIA SIMBRA: With the COVID-19 vaccine, Kerri Richardson had delayed side effects.

KERRI RICHARDSON: I had side effects on both vaccine one and two. My arm was sore. No other side effects until around day 10. I then woke up with a little rash underneath the injection site.

MARIA SIMBRA: She wasn't surprised, though.

KERRI RICHARDSON: I know of a few other ladies that have had it so I was a little warned before.

MARIA SIMBRA: Turns out, women are more likely to report side effects.

SAMANTHA SPITZARELLA: For patients having sore arms and the rashes, definitely has been predominantly women that have complained of those side effects. I actually don't-- can't think of a man that has shared with me that he got the rash-- COVID rash.

MARIA SIMBRA: The CDC analyzed the safety data from the first 14 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Women got 61% of the vaccines, but reported nearly 80% of the side effects. And nearly all of the severe allergic reactions have been in women.

SAMANTHA SPITZARELLA: Women tend to be more sensitive to things like this so it seems, yeah, probably hormone related.

PAUL WEINBAUM: It appears, at least in some lab data, that a higher level of estrogen hormone, which of course, is the case in women, contribute to a more aggressive antibody response.

MARIA SIMBRA: Also, the male hormone testosterone can suppress antibody response. Because women have less testosterone, their bodies can generate more of these protective immune system proteins.

PAUL WEINBAUM: And presumably, there is a correlation between the antibody response, perhaps, and the degree of side effects.

MARIA SIMBRA: In studies with flu vaccines, allergic reactions are four times more common in women. Other studies show women account for 80% of all vaccine related anaphylactic episodes in adults.

Kerri isn't bothered she got a rash. She figures it was just ladies luck.

KERRI RICHARDSON: Our bodies work differently. So we're going to react differently, I think. By the next day, it was completely gone.

MARIA SIMBRA: A slight nuisance for full protection. I'm Dr. Maria Simbra, KDKA News.