older woman vaccine covid-19
A woman has her temperature checked as she arrives at a FEMA COVID-19 vaccination site at the Northwest Community Center.
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A gender gap might be forming among older COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

Though 70% of older men said they received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of March 22, just 59% of older women say the same, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The group conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,82 adults between March 15 and March 22. The 19th News first reported the trend.

The vaccine distribution disparity represents a shift in attitude from December 2020, when KFF found men were more likely to say they would not get a jab than women. The share of adults who say they have gotten or are planning to get a COVID-19 has risen significantly since December.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found vaccine side effects impacted women more than men. The reason could be due to women having stronger immune systems, as well as men underreporting the severity of pain, AARP reported.

Read more: Scientists are coming around to a surprising new understanding of Alzheimer's disease, and it could supercharge drug development for the $1.1 trillion problem

The White House announced half of US seniors had been fully vaccinated as of March 31, an important milestone after eight out of every 10 COVID-19 deaths were among people 65-years-old and up. President Joe Biden expects 90% of Americans to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.

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But demographic gaps among vaccine recipients could pose a threat to herd immunity, or the point when the number of immunized people in a community make a disease less likely to spread. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, estimates herd immunity against COVID-19 could require up to 90% of people getting a vaccine.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found Black adults saw the largest increase in vaccine enthusiasm, with the portion of those who have had gotten or will get a vaccine jumping to 55% from 20% in December. Experts said Black Americans had received fewer initial doses of the vaccine due in December and January due to vaccine hesitancy, a lack of sites in communities of color, and poor communication from health systems.

Republicans, however, continue to be more hesitant of the vaccine, as fewer than half of Republicans said they have received at least one dose of the vaccine or intend to, and about 30% said they will "definitely not" get vaccinated. Older generations tend to lean more Republican than Millennials and Gen Z, according to Pew Research Center.

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