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Men versus women vaccination disparity

Last Updated May 8, 2021 at 8:40 am PDT

FILE -- Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force draws a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Winnipeg, Friday, March 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

CALGARY (CityNews) — Health Canada vaccine data reflects a considerable gender divide in getting vaccinated, with more women choosing to get vaccinated.

“It really starts to show up in the younger population, the most pronounced being perhaps the 40 years old group, where it is almost 10 per cent higher in the females than males,” said Blake Schaffer, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary. “It is too early to determine whether this is an early sign of some sort of vaccine hesitancy difference between the sexes, but we can also attribute some of this to, right now, who is eligible at this point.”

Sociologists say the reason behind this gender divide may be attributed to societal roles.

READ MORE: Alberta reports 1,980 new COVID-19 cases, province approaches 1.8M vaccines administered

“More women in this age group being concentrated in caregiving roles, whether its in healthcare or at home,” said Pallavi Banerjee, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Calgary. “And, public opinion shows that women are more likely to take more precautions around COVID. And a Gallup Poll survey shows that men believe in individual choice and they think that vaccines should be an individual choice, it’s not about public health.”

On the other hand, data researchers say it’s just a matter of convenience, not a gender preference.

“What I am seeing is a difference in sense of urgency, and women are feeling it’s more urgent for them to go out and get (vaccinated). Maybe when the lines get shorter, when you don’t have to stay online so long to get registered when more places are offering spontaneous walk-ins then I think, you know, men who are working from home, then we will start to see them come out in bigger numbers,” said polling and marketing researcher Janet Brown.

Researchers and doctors say as more age groups open up for vaccinations across Canada, there is a high probability that this gender curve will flatten over time.