What happens when health care officials ignore biological differences between men and women? We have talked about this before, here and here. Now, a recent op-ed by Sarba Klein and Phyllis Greenberger in the NY Times argues that the biological differences between men and women should result in different doses of the H1N1 vaccine.
Their argument is based on the fact that men and women differ in their responses to several viral vaccines. The op-ed uses research found at the Archives of Internal Medicine to show that women’s bodies routinely generate a stronger antibody response than men’s do. This fact should result in different doses for the H1N1 vaccine, yet public health authorities insist that the doses remain equal despite women being overdosed.
The op-ed concludes saying:
“Only a handful of countries have plants to manufacture influenza vaccine, and the world’s wealthiest countries have locked up most of what these plants can produce with signed purchasing contracts.
We could make much more — and potentially save millions of lives — if we stopped giving women larger doses than they need.”
Durham County officials cancelled a vaccination clinic for this afternoon because the clinic is expected to run out of doses by morning’s end. When will health officials wake up and notice that there is a biological difference between men and women? Recognizing these differences, in this case, could actually save lives.