SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- New research shows that more women are experiencing side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men.
“I am a little nervous to get my second shot…I’m still gonna get it, but I am a little nervous. I’ll admit it,” said Lisa Darlington of Westfield.
As COVID-19 vaccinations across the state continue ramping up, doctors are learning more about vaccine side effects and the role gender plays in it all. Right now, they say women are reporting more adverse reactions than men.
Bother my sons did and my husband, he got like flu symptoms,” Darlington added.
Darlington told Western Mass News that the symptoms her male family members experienced were nothing compared to what she felt.
“I started off walking. All of a sudden, I had a feeling that I never had before,” Darlington explained.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the first month of vaccinations, 79 percent of those experiencing more severe side effects were women, 20 percent were men. In the remaining one percent, the gender was unknown.
“I thought I was having a stroke. I was ready to call 911 on my cell. I was very like hallucinating, felt like the trees and stuff were moving around me, everything was moving, even though I was standing still. I was so disoriented that I had to sit right here in the middle of the rail trail…I felt kinda dizziness and lazy for about two days,” Darlington noted.
Western Mass News spoke with Dr. Armando Paez, chief of the infectious diseases division at Baystate Health, to find out why some women are having these reactions.
“So there is a biological explanation. This is constant with the experience in other vaccines. Like influenzas, they see more responses in women than men and because of the robust immune response in women, they tend to get more symptoms,” Paez explained.
Paez said the most frequently reported symptoms are headache, dizziness, and fatigue and while you won't know what side effects you'll experience until after getting vaccinated, he said the benefits outweigh the risks.
“You should not shy away from getting vaccinated to because these are temporary symptoms...Of course, the opposite is COVID-19 symptoms. You get the illness. That is something that we want to prevent,” Paez added.