Covid vaccine side effects seen more among women: Study | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: An in-house study conducted by Bangalore Baptist Hospital found that female staffers faced more side effects following vaccination than their male counterparts. The cohort comprised 218 employees who had taken their first dose of Covishield. The majority of the employees are women (172).
Side effects were seen in 75.5 per cent of the women and 45 per cent of the men. The most common ones were pain at the injection spot (76.1 per cent), body ache (46.8 per cent), headache (30.3 per cent) and fever (22 per cent). The respondents also complained of stiffness in the arm (11.5 per cent), swelling in the arm (16.5 per cent) and GI and vomiting (4.1 per cent). But there was no case of serious adverse event following immunisation (AEFI).
Dr Carolin Elizabeth George, head of the hospital’s community health and research division, led the study titled ‘How safe is Covishield vaccine? Experience from a tertiary care hospital in South India’. Dr Leeberg Inbaraj and Dr Nirupama Franklyn from the community medicine department at the hospital were part of the effort. The study is under review for publication in an international journal.
The researchers said that the exact reason for the higher incidence of side effects among women was not known. “It could be that women are more likely to report symptoms than men. Anxiety might be more in women; many side effects are related to anxiety. The female immune system is more reactive compared to men’s, which is why autoimmune diseases are reported more among women. Hormonal differences may also be at play,” said Dr George.
According to Dr George, the vaccine reactogenicity is more in the younger population than in the older, and this was seen in the cohort. Seventy-six cohort members are more than 40 years old and 142 are aged below 40. Side effects were seen among 34 members aged below 40 and only in five aged above 40.
“The reason could be the reaction of the immune system, which is more active in the young. The phase 3 trials of Covishield also said that younger people had higher reactogenicity,” she added.
In Karnataka, 27 people have experienced serious AEFI so far. Twenty-one of them are women who work as healthcare and frontline workers.
“Most of the healthcare workers are women. That could be one reason for more instances of AEFI among women. But we have not done any genderbased assessment of AEFI. No serious adverse events have been seen among senior citizens so far,” said Dr Arundhathi Chandrashekar, mission director (Karnataka), National Health Mission.
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Sagar Biswas

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