Men getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at far lower rates than women, data shows

Despite far higher death rates from COVID-19, men are being vaccinated at far lower rates than women, with the difference particularly pronounced among Black and Latino men, county health officials said today.

Among all eligible women in Los Angeles County, 44% have received at least one dose of vaccine, while just 30% of eligible men have received at least one dose.

Long Beach reports its numbers differently, but the disparity is still clear: Among the total number of people who have been vaccinated by the city, 54% are women and 44% are men. It is not clear how many in the respective gender groups who are eligible have been vaccinated.

Long Beach also does not break down vaccine doses by both ethnicity and gender on its vaccine website. In Los Angeles County, however, data shows that just 19% of Black men and 17% of Latino men have received at least one dose, compared to 35% for Asian men and 32% for White men.

At the same time, men are roughly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than women, even though case rates of the virus are roughly the same, Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said Monday.

The mortality rate among men is about 289 deaths per 100,000, and 153 per 100,000 for women.

Ferrer said the higher mortality rate among men has been noted since the start of the pandemic, and is likely due to a number of factors including men delaying care, men having more underlying health conditions, and some immune response protections women may have that are giving them better survival rates.

“What’s staggering is that the very group of folks with the higher mortality rate are now the group of folks that have the lowest vaccination rates,” she said. “That’s what’s troubling and needs to be flipped around.”

Though Ferrer did not speculate about the reasons for the difference in vaccination rates, public health officials around the country have said it could be due to the fact that more women work in health care and education, which were eligible earlier for the vaccine, and women’s longer life spans mean that there are more women over 65.

However, as eligibility has expanded, the gap has persisted.

Ferrer emphasized the need to get accurate information out to the public about the safety of the vaccine.

The county on Monday reported three additional deaths due to COVID-19, for a total of 23,479. The county reported 411 new cases of the virus, for a total of 1,226,191.

Overall, 25% of people eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated as of April 4 in LA County, which has distributed 3.3 million first doses and 1.8 million second doses.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.