Battle of the sexes: It’s a very close call

James Halpin



Stuff NZ Newspapers

National News

Men are leading the way percentagewise when it comes to getting vaccinated – but more women overall have had both jabs, Ministry of Health data shows. The discrepancy is because there are more women in New Zealand than men. According to the 2018 census, there were 60,000 more women. As of Monday, 96.2 per cent of eligible males (aged 12 and over) had received one dose of the vaccine and 93.1 per cent had received two doses. By contrast, 93.5 per cent of women aged 12 and over had received one dose, while 91.1 per cent had received two. However, as a gross total, more women were vaccinated than men: 2,023,139 women had received one dose and 1,970,895 had received two, compared to men’s totals of 1,964,247 and 1,900,799 respectively. The ministry data didn’t shed any light as to why men had a higher vaccine uptake, but a November Horizon Research survey found men were more persuaded than women by the Government’s advertising. Twentythree per cent of men, versus 13 per cent of women, said the advertising had a positive effect on them. Of those who said they ‘‘definitely won’t get a vaccine’’, the Horizon Research poll found more women than men, 57 per cent, thought there was ‘‘too much social pressure’’. Vaccinologist and Auckland University associate professor Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said the people who were not yet vaccinated were ‘‘quite a mixed group’’, and not made up entirely of anti-vaxxers. ‘‘[Antivaxxers are] such a minority, but they’re just quite vocal,’’ she said. Women’s engagement in social media might make them more vulnerable to misinformation or social pressure, Petousis-Harris said. ‘‘That’s fairly consistent and not just a pandemic thing.’’ Petousis-Harris said there were still some people who thought they didn’t need to get vaccinated because they were unlikely to be affected by the virus.