Men are less likely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and less likely to get infected — but far more apt to die from the disease, state numbers reveal.
Statistics from the New Mexico Department of Health and elsewhere show clear differences between women and men in their approaches to COVID-19 and their outcomes in bouts with the disease. An international study published last year asserted women see the disease as a serious problem and are more inclined to comply with restraints than men.
The most recent statistics available Tuesday from the state Health Department showed that of the total coronavirus vaccine doses administered in New Mexico, about 1.8 million had gone to women and 1.6 million to men.
DeArmond Lopez, 27, speculated Tuesday in downtown Santa Fe that some men see themselves as “so manly they can fight off the virus.” Lopez said he is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot. Lopez grew up in Albuquerque and moved to Santa Fe as the coronavirus arrived.
Another Santa Fe man, 76-year-old John Voorhees, said he found it unsurprising men are less likely to get vaccinated. Voorhees suggested women are more inclined to strive to keep members of society together, while many men view themselves as tough individualists.
An article published last year in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences considered survey information from 21,649 people in eight countries. The writers of the paper found “women are more likely to perceive COVID-19 as a very serious health problem, to agree with ... public policy measures and to comply with them.”
The article, which included data from the United States, said, “Gender differences in attitudes and behavior [toward the coronavirus] are sizable in all countries.”
Further, recent survey information from the Kaiser Family Foundation found 16 percent of men said they definitely wouldn’t get the vaccinations compared to 11 percent of women.
And in another Kaiser survey, this one from March 2020, the organization found 68 percent of women and 56 percent of men expressed worry they or someone in their family would become ill from the coronavirus.
In that same Kaiser survey of 1,216 people, 39 percent of women worried they would have to put themselves at risk of exposure to the disease because they couldn’t afford to stay home from work. Only 31 percent of men responded similarly.
Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, a public health professor at New Mexico State University, wrote in an email lower vaccination coverage among men could result in higher deaths. And women could have higher rates of infection because of greater exposure to the disease because they make up a larger share of workers in service-related and essential jobs, he wrote.
Khubchandani also wrote that studies of higher death counts in men have led to various other hypotheses, such as hormonal and immune system differences, faster reduction of immunity from vaccines in men, more risky behavior in men (such as smoking), and a tendency to seek care at a lower rate.
Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center said in a statement women historically have used health care services more than men. The hospital Tuesday reiterated its plea for both men and women to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported in its coronavirus tracker system that women make up 52.3 percent of cases and are 50.8 percent of the population.
But when it comes to deaths, the CDC’s website said Tuesday, 45.6 percent were women and 54.4 percent were men.
According to New Mexico reports, men have been
50.6 percent of the state’s patients hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19.
When adjusted for age, however, the numbers are more dramatic.
Women in New Mexico live longer than men (close to six years longer as of 2017). Adjusting statistically for that fact,
959.6 men per 100,000 residents had been hospitalized with COVID-19, compared with