Experts concerned about COVID-19 vaccine hesitation among men

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nationwide, far fewer men are getting the COVID-19 vaccine than women, and Douglas County is no exception.

The latest numbers show 42% of women living in the county are fully vaccinated, compared to just 31% of men, with some signs they may be starting to catch up.

“I’ve got some friends down here in Nebraska that are just die-hard ‘it’s not safe,’ ” said Kurt Horn, who just got his second shot of the vaccine Thursday, and he’s trying to convince his friends to do the same. “But it just falls on deaf ears most of the time.”

Experts tell 6 News that believing those kind of falsehoods about the vaccine is a concern.

“From polling we have seen that men tend to be more vaccine hesitant when it comes to the COVID vaccine than females, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a fellow at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security “I think is probably a real trend and a real signal.”

It’s clear to the experts something is slowing men down in getting the shot. “This something that needs to be investigated,” said Dr. Adalja. “I think that we need to target that vaccine hesitancy to try and understand what’s driving it.”

6 New spoke with several people at a local vaccine clinic who weren’t surprised men are hesitating to get the vaccine.

“Just being stubborn, I guess. It’s just the mentality of men in general,” said Andrew Durkan, who is getting vaccinated. “They think they don’t need it, or they can fight it off because they’re strong or something like that.”

“Men hardly go to the doctor when they need to. I can barely get my husband to go to the doctor,” said Jackie Hall Stone, noting her husband is, however, getting vaccinated.

There are some signs men may be catching up; nearly of half living in Douglas County have received their first shot, but they’re still 10 percentage points behind the women.

“It’s hard to look at the data and know whether or not men are catching up, but the fact that there’s less of a gap in first vaccine doses is something that is notable,” said Dr. Adalja, noting it’s critical to get those still hesitating on board.

“First by making it as easy and convenient to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Adalja. “Second, by trying to address any specific concerns they may have regarding these vaccines that have shown to be safe and effective.”

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