Sexism in medicine goes back to theories about hysterical women who go crazy for sexual oppression, and it continues to manifest itself today in the lack of thoroughness and understanding about their bodies. Much of this is attributed to the symptoms and the spread of their effects: a simple example is the well-known elephant foot in the chest and the pain in the left arm as symptoms of a heart attack; both situations which do not represent the female symptomatology but the male.
The management of the Covid-19 pandemic is no stranger to this reality. Recent studies show that the side effects of vaccines differ between women and men, and that women are overrepresented among those who suffer from side effects. Of the first 13.7 million doses of vaccines administered to Americans, 79.1% of women reported experiencing side effects, although they had only 61.2% of vaccines delivered to women.
These gender differences should not come as a surprise, as they coincide with what happens to other vaccines. For example, in relation to the flu vaccine, four times more women than men reported allergic reactions after receiving the vaccine.
Although the effects are not serious or long lasting, it is worth asking us the question, why is this? An initial reaction has to do with a biological aspect where women and girls produce more antibodies that fight infections, and first generate more side effects.
It is also possible that the differences have some bearing on immunity. Many immunity-related genes are on the X chromosome, of which females have two copies and males only one.
The amount contained in a dose of the vaccine may also be of interest. Some studies have shown that women take and metabolize drugs differently than men, and that they almost always need fewer doses to work as well. Note that a large proportion of the clinical trials conducted up to the 1990s involved men to a greater extent.
Although clinical trials have improved the presence of women, it is essential to note that each experiment has the same number of people of both sexes and that biological and behavioral differences of men are taken into account.
Drug tests are generally designed and analyzed without regard to gender-specific doses or differential side effects, while they should be considered in both new and re-positioned medications.