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VERIFY: Report found 79-percent of COVID-19 vaccine side effects claims came from women

Right now, everyone is getting the same dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but health experts say women are experiencing more side effects.

ATLANTA — As millions of people get the COVID-19 vaccine, questions about side effects and impact continue. 

Our VERIFY team is dedicated to fact-checking claims made online and questions from viewers.  

A claim making the rounds currently is about side effects impacting women more than men. 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross spoke to health experts to see if there was any truth behind the claim.


Are women getting hit harder than men by the COVID-19 side effects? 


Yes, some women are reporting more side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men.


According to a CDC report in February, of the total reported cases of side effects, women made up the majority. 

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) found that in the first month of COVID-19 vaccine administration in the United States, there were 6,994 reports of side effects including headache, dizziness and fatigue. Of those, 79-percent were from women. 

11Alive's VERIFY team also spoke with Dr. Michelle Wan and Physician Assistant Natalie Schmitz who run Viral Solutions, a COVID-19 testing site in Atlanta, and work in emergency medicine. Both of whom received the vaccination.

"The day after my second shot is when I had side effects. Headache, body aches, chills off and on," Schmitz said.

They told 11Alive they continue to hear the same thing from multiple patients - women are getting worse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men. 

RELATED: VERIFY: No, vaccine passports do not violate HIPAA laws

"We have seen women have a greater side effect profile than our male counterparts," she said. 

And it makes sense to both medical professionals. 

"Not just with the COVID vaccine, but with previous vaccines, the diphtheria vaccine, yellow fever, vaccines that have been in existence for a long time, well before COVID, seem to have a more robust effect on women. And we think that's because the difference in our sex hormones causes women to have a stronger immune response," Wan explained. 

Right now, everyone is getting the same dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but they believe that may change in the future.

"There's more research that needs to be done in this field, there are some metabolism issues that need to be looked at as far as how women and men process drugs. Some of the literature we see if many women don't need as high of a dose of the vaccine and that might be why we are having a higher side effect profile," Wan said. 

They don't believe that should stop women from getting the vaccine shot, but it's something they should be aware of. 

11Alive can verify that yes, women are getting hit harder than men. 

11Alive's Verify team is here to fact-check claims being shared in the community and online. Fill out the form below with something you'd like us to Verify.

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