Women are at higher risk of experiencing a reaction to flu vaccinations, a study has shown.
Researchers found that women were more likely to suffer an injection site reaction – such as pain or swelling – compared to men.
According to the new study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, women are also more likely to suffer from “systemic reactions” to the flu shot, including fever, headache and myalgia – or muscle aches and pain.
The authors, led by experts at the University of Montreal in Canada, said that the body’s response to vaccines and side effects may differ between men and women, “but most studies do not report results by sex”.
They analysed data on more than 34,000 people who took part in 18 previous studies.
People in the study were split into younger adults (those aged 18-64) and older adults aged 65 and over.
The researchers found that there was a higher risk of injection-site reactions in women compared with men for both younger and older adults.
A higher risk was also found for systemic reactions in women compared to men.
The authors said that for every 1,000 flu shots, it could be expected that there would be 115 additional cases of injection site reactions in women compared to men.
And there would be 74 cases of systemic reactions in women for every 1,000 vaccinations, they added.
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“Transparent communication of this risk could increase the trust in vaccines and limit vaccine hesitancy,” the authors wrote.
The news comes as the NHS winter flu campaign is already well under way.
More than 2.8 million people in England have received their flu shots since the start of the autumn booster campaign on September 11, according to NHS figures.
Many of these people will have also had their Covid-19 vaccine, with the NHS reporting that 1.16 million autumn Covid shots have been delivered so far.