Early reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a centralized federally operated vaccine reaction reporting system, after the messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 shots were distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA in the United States revealed that women were reported to have experienced more severe allergic reactions to the COVID-19 shots than men.
According to a February 2021 study published in JAMA,1 during the first month that the shots were made available, women experienced 94 percent of the 66 reported cases of anaphylaxis severe allergic reactions to the experimental mRNA shots.2 Women also accounted for the first six cases of severe blood clots with low platelet counts after the roll-out of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s adenovirus vectored Ad26.COV2.S COVID vaccine, which prompted officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to temporarily pause use of the vaccine in mid-April 2021.3
A recent report showed that women between 12-29 years of age who received AstraZeneca/Oxford University’s Vaxzevria adenovirus vectored COVID vaccine were three and a half more times likely to suffer heart disease and/or death in the first 12 weeks after receiving the first dose compared to longer term risk.4 5
A retrospective and cross-sectional study looking at gender disparity in adverse reactions to COVID shots during the period from September to November 2021 examined the electronic responses of adverse reactions post COVID vaccination of 843 health care workers in Iraq. The study found that 77 percent of women and 66 percent of men reported adverse events to COVID shots. Women were more likely to suffer from severe pain, 25.3 percent compared to 14 percent.6
A 2021 report by the CDC looking at reports made to VAERS between Dec. 14, 2020 to Jan. 13, 2021 showed that even though only 61.2 percent of the overall COVID shot doses administered were given to women, women accounted for 78.7 percent of the adverse events reported to VAERS.7
Less Than One Percent of Vaccine Adverse Events Reported
VAERS was among the vaccine safety provisions secured in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 by parents of DPT vaccine injured children ,who founded the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and worked to include vaccine informing, reporting, recording and research provisions in the law. Doctors and other vaccine administrators are required under the law to report adverse reactions to vaccination to VAERS, but here are no legal sanctions for failure to report a reaction and most adverse reactions go unreported.8
Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of “problem” drugs and vaccines that endanger public health.
Paul Marik, MD, cofounder of Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), confirmed that women have a higher risk of having adverse reactions to COVID shots citing an October 2022 survey that showed that 81 percent of the people reporting a negative reaction to the shot were female.11
Recent VAERS Data Shows Women are Having Serious COVID Shot Adverse Reactions
VAERS data as of April 2023, provides more evidence that there have been 155,977 cases of COVID shot related health problems filed with the government that were marked as “serious” for women. 19,473 cases were reported as life threatening and 102,684 women were hospitalized after receiving COVID shots. Some 41,693 reports indicate that women have been disabled after COVID shots, along with 14,247 cases of death.12
If these numbers only represent a mere one percent of actual adverse events experienced post COVID vaccination by women in the U.S., the real number may be in the millions. Overall, approximately 65 percent of vaccine injury reports filed with VAERS have been from women.13
Physiology May Play a Role in Adverse Events to Vaccination
Researchers have suggested that women may have more adverse effects of vaccination due to the female hormone, estrogen. Estrogen helps activate the body’s immune response to vaccination by encouraging the body to produce more T-cells. The higher number of T-cells produced in women post vaccination may cause a greater number of negative side effects.14
Yale University researchers found that women mounted a stronger T-cell response to infection than men. Accordingly, women may respond to a smaller dose of a vaccine than men, but COVID vaccine trials did not test a lower dose on women, which theoretically may have resulted in fewer side-effects.15
In addition, there has been speculation that chromosomes may play a role in why women suffer more negative side effects to vaccination than men. Men have an X and a Y chromosome while women have two X chromosomes. Abisola Olulade, MD, a family medicine physician explained:
Having that extra X chromosome does lead to increased proteins that are involved in the immune response.16
Women More Likely to Suffer from Thyroid Disease
An article in the Endocrinology Advisor citing research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reports:
Clinicians should be aware of the potential development or exacerbation of autoimmune thyroid disorders in predisposed individuals after exposure to the COVID-19 vaccination.17
Women are more predisposed to suffer from thyroid disease including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis, goiter, nodules, and thyroid cancer than men. In fact, women are 10 times more likely than men to have a problem with their thyroid. One reason for this is that the thyroid and female hormones, such as estrogen, have been linked to thyroid function. The effects of thyroid problems also disproportionally affect women as thyroid disease could affect menstrual periods, force early menopause, cause difficulty in conceiving and result in health problems while pregnant.18 19
Since women are genetically predisposed to be more vulnerable to thyroid disease, taking a COVID vaccine that is known to cause thyroid problems could be more likely to adversely affect women’s health than men’s health.
COVID Vaccine Linked to Menstrual Changes Affecting Women
Women’s menstrual cycles may be adversely affected by COVID vaccines. A peer reviewed study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that there was a minor change of less than one day in cycle length for vaccinated women. Kim Makay, MD, a gynecologist at SSM Health said:
The vaccine does impact women’s menstrual cycles. The vaccine has an impact on the body, especially when it’s first given; that impact can be stressful, that stress can impact the internal clock a woman has.20 21
A recent study found that women who had received a COVID shot were more likely to experience increased menstrual bleeding than women who did not get the shot. The study, which looked at 7,401 vaccinated and 2,154 unvaccinated women, showed that 40 out of 1,000 vaccinated women had an increase in menstrual bleeding. Alison Edelman, MD, physician-scientist at Oregon Health and Science University, cautioned:
Menstruation is a routine bodily function and a key indicator of overall health, so it’s crucial that we understand the scope of this issue among the global population.22
A vaccine safety update published in November 2022 found that there were 9,000 cases of heavy menstrual bleeding post mRNA COVID shots across the world.23
In September 2022, researchers examining VAERS data noticed significantly greater numbers of pregnancy and menstrual abnormalities after receiving COVID shots. A worldwide moratorium on vaccinating pregnant women with the shot was advised pending further safety trials.24
Women’s Health Complaints More Likely to Be Ignored by Doctors
Besides having more adverse reactions to vaccination, women are more likely than men to have their health complaints dismissed by doctors. There is a long history in medicine of women’s health complaints being taken less seriously by medical doctors and women being less likely to receive prompt and adequate treatment than men.25
According to the Journal of American Health, women suffering chest pain waited 29 percent longer than men to be evaluated for a potential heart attack than men in the emergency room. Women have been found to be dismissed from the emergency department seven times more often than men in the midst of having a heart attack.
A 2009 study in the Journal of Women’s Health showed that women went underdiagnosed for chronic heart disease due to unrecognized symptoms and faulty symptom misinterpretation. The study looking at doctor’s diagnosis and confidence level in identifying heart disease in women, who were presenting with symptoms of chronic heart disease, found that women were more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition—and not heart disease—than men. In fact, middle aged women were twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition than men presenting with the same symptoms.26 27
Doctors gaslighting, dismissing or refusing to believe their descriptions of clinical symptoms is all too common for women. This is especially true for older women, the LGBTQ community, women of color or women of lower socio-economic status. As women’s symptoms are not acknowledged by medical doctors and treatment for their health concerns are denied, their symptoms are more likely to increase and they are more likely to suffer self-doubt, anxiety, depression and die from inadequate care.28
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1 Shimabukuro TT, Cole M, Su JR. Reports of Anaphylaxis After Receipt of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines in the US – December 14, 2020- January 18, 2021. JAMA Network Feb. 12, 2021.
2 Goodwin J. Few Severe Reactions to COVID-19 Vaccines, But Women Most Affected. Living Allergic Feb. 20, 2021.
3 LaMotte S. Blood clots and Johnson & Johnson vaccine: What you need to know. CNN Apr. 26, 2021.
4 Office for National Statistics. Risk of death following COVID-19 vaccination or positive. Mar. 27, 2023.
5 Baker A. Women 3.5 Times More Likely to Develop Heart Disease or Die Suddenly After AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 3, 2023.
6 Pharm Pract (Granada). 2022 Apr-Jun; 20(2): 2678. June 10, 2022.
7 Gee J, Marquez P, Su J et al. First Month of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring — United States, December 14, 2020–January 13, 2021. MMWR 2021;70:283–288.
8 Fisher BL. More Deaths Reported to VAERS Following COVID-19 Vaccinations Than for Any Other Vaccine. The Vaccine Reaction July 11, 2021.
9 Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Electronic System for Public Health Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. AHRQ 2011.
10 TVR Staff. Only One Percent of Vaccine Reactions Reported to VAERS. The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 9, 2020.
11 Zhang M. 6 Main Factors Increase Risk of COVID-19 Vaccine Injury. The Epoch Times Mar. 24, 2023.
12 National Vaccine Information Center. Medalerts.
13 Zhang M. 6 Main Factors Increase Risk of COVID-19 Vaccine Injury. The Epoch Times Mar. 24, 2023.
14 McCarthy M. Here’s Why Women Experience Stronger Side Effects to COVID-19 Vaccines. Healthline Mar. 10, 2021.
15 Raines K. Women Are at Higher Risk for COVID Vaccine Reactions Than Men. The Vaccine Reaction. Mar. 21, 2021.
16 Staahl D. Why women have more vaccine side effects than men. ABC 10 News Apr. 28, 2021.
17 Strong C. COVID-19 Vaccine Linked to Exacerbation of Graves Disease. Endocrinology Advisor Apr. 11, 2022.
18 Doohan B. How-and Why – Thyroid Diseases Disproportionately Affect Women. GoodRX Health Feb. 4, 2022.
19 Grunewalk J. Why Do Thyroid Disorders Affect Women More Often Than Men? Experience Life May 19, 2017.
20 Hendler C. NIH-Funded Study Found COVID-19 Shots Impact Menstrual Cycles. The Vaccine Reaction Mar. 7, 2022.
21 Molesky C. New temporary side effects linked to COVID-19 vaccine. NBC 15 Feb. 7, 2022.
22 Zhang J. New Study of 9,500 Women Finds COVID-19 Jab Could Lead to Heavier Menstrual Bleeding. The Epoch Times Apr. 14, 2023.
25 Ruggeri A. A special series about how men and women experience the medical system – and their own health – in starkly different ways. BBC May 21, 2018.
26 J Womens Health (Larchmt). October 2009; 18(10): 1661–1667.
27 Bever L. From heart disease to IUDs: How doctors dismiss women’s pain. The Washington Post Dec 13, 2022.
28 Ma L. How Women Suffer Medical Gaslighting. Psychology Today Apr. 20, 2022.