COVID-19 vaccination, do women suffer from more side effects than men? A retrospective cross-sectional study

Main Article Content


COVID-19, Vaccination, Side effects


The vaccine was the only way to fight against Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) from its statement as a pandemic till day. COVID-19 vaccines were approved by the world health organization (WHO) in December 2020. Despite a large number of studies regarding the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines, to our knowledge, there were limited studies that outlined the gender disparity towards COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects. This study aims to outline the variety of side effects among men and women after getting COVID-19 vaccines (either single or two doses). It is a cross-sectional study accomplished electronically from September to November 2021. The participants involved were 843 Health Care Workers (HCWs) from different cities in Iraq. The majority of respondents were females (664). Around 65% of males experienced adverse effects compared to 77% of females. A high frequency of severe pain was reported among females. Regarding dermatological reactions like swelling, redness and skin rash were also higher reported among female subjects. In addition to that, higher frequencies of moderate and severe systemic adverse effects and mild to moderate nausea was also reported more frequently among females. In terms of cardiopulmonary adverse effects, all the reported adverse effects were found more frequently among females. In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccines produced limited adverse effects and the majority of them were reported among women. This may be associated with hormonal and psychological factors related to them.


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 1602 | PDF Downloads 561


1. Saeed BQ, Al-Shahrabi R, Alhaj SS, et al. Side effects and perceptions following Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccination. Int J Infect Dis. 2021;111:219-226.
2. Adam M, Gameraddin M, Alelyani M, et al. Evaluation of Post-Vaccination Symptoms of Two Common COVID-19 Vaccines Used in Abha, Aseer Region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2021;15:1963-1970. S330689 
3. Kaur SP, Gupta V. COVID-19 Vaccine: A comprehensive status report. Virus Res. 2020;288(2):198114.
4. Szmyd B, Karuga FF, Bartoszek A, et al. Attitude and Behaviors towards SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination among Healthcare Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study from Poland. Vaccines (Basel). 2021;9(3):218.
5. Riad A, Pokorná A, Attia S, et al. Prevalence of covid-19 vaccine side effects among healthcare workers in the Czech Republic. J Clin Med. 2021;10(7):1-18.
6. Ciarambino T, Barbagelata E, Corbi G, et al. Gender differences in vaccine therapy: where are we in COVID-19 pandemic?Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2021;91(4).
7. Vassallo A, Shajahan S, Harris K, et al. Sex and Gender in COVID-19 Vaccine Research: Substantial Evidence Gaps Remain. Front Glob Womens Health. 2021;2:761511.
8. Brady E, Nielsen MW, Andersen JP, et al. Lack of consideration of sex and gender in COVID-19 clinical studies. Nat Commun. 
9. General Accounting Office (2001) Drug safety: Most drugs withdrawn in recent years had greater health risks for women. GAO-01-286R. Available: Accessed 20 April 2022.
10. Attash HM, Al-Obaidy LM, Al-Qazaz HK. Which Type of the Promising COVID-19 Vaccines Produces Minimal Adverse Effects? A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study. Vaccines. 2022;10(2).
11. Hatmal MM, Al-Hatamleh MAI, Olaimat AN, et al. Side Effects and Perceptions Following COVID-19 Vaccination in Jordan: A Randomized, Cross-Sectional Study Implementing Machine Learning for Predicting Severity of Side Effects. Vaccines (Basel). 2021;9(6):556.
12. El-Shitany NA, Harakeh S, Badr-Eldin SM, et al. Minor to Moderate Side Effects of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Among Saudi Residents: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Gen Med. 2021;14:1389-1401.
13. Al-Jumaili AA, Hussain SA, Sorofman B. Pharmacy in Iraq: history, current status, and future directions. Am J Health Syst Pharm.2013;70(4):368-72.
14. Elnaem MH, Mohd Taufek NH, Ab Rahman NS, et al. COVID-19 Vaccination Attitudes, Perceptions, and Side Effect Experiences in Malaysia: Do Age, Gender, and Vaccine Type Matter? Vaccines (Basel). 2021;9(10):1156.
15. Hoffmann MA, Wieler HJ, Enders P, et al. Age- and Sex-Graded Data Evaluation of Vaccination Reactions after Initial Injection of the BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine in a Local Vaccination Center in Germany. Vaccines (Basel). 2021;9(8):911.
16. Menni C, Klaser K, May A, et al. Vaccine side-effects and SARS-CoV-2 infection after vaccination in users of the COVID Symptom Study app in the UK: a prospective observational study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021 Jul;21(7):939-949.
17. Bartley EJ, Fillingim RB. Sex differences in pain: A brief review of clinical and experimental findings. Br J Anaesth. 2013;111(1):52-58.
18. Nachtigall I, Bonsignore M, Hohenstein S, et al. Effect of gender, age and vaccine on reactogenicity and incapacity to work after COVID-19 vaccination: a survey among health care workers. BMC Infect Dis. 2022;22(1):291.
19. Shimabukuro T, Nair N. Allergic Reactions including Anaphylaxis after Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. JAMA - J Am Med Assoc. 2021;325(8):780-781.
20. Su JR, Moro PL, Ng CS, et al. Anaphylaxis after vaccination reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, 1990-2016. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019;143(4):1465-1473.
21. Potluri T, Fink AL, Sylvia KE, et al. Age-associated changes in the impact of sex steroids on influenza vaccine responses in males and females. NPJ Vaccines. 2019;4:29.
22. Riad A, Pokorná A, Klugarová J, et al. Side Effects of mRNA-Based COVID-19 Vaccines among Young Adults (18-30 Years Old): AnIndependent Post-Marketing Study. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021;14(10):1049.