What Do Women Want? For Men to Get Covid Vaccines.

As the Biden administration seeks to get most adults vaccinated by summer, men are holding back.

Holly Elgison and her husband Len Schillaci, a mixed vaxxed couple in Valrico, Fla. “I would rather he got the shot, and I hope that he’ll consider it,” Ms. Elgison said.Credit…Zack Wittman for The New York Times

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By Jennifer Steinhauer

Holly Elgison and Len Schillaci are a mixed vaxxed couple, and they are far from alone.

“I was always going to get the vaccine, 100 percent,” said Ms. Elgison, a medical claims auditor in Valrico, Fla.

Her husband, a disaster insurance adjuster, said he will pass. “To be honest with you, I think that the worst of Covid is behind us,” Mr. Schillaci said. “I’m good.”

As the Biden administration seeks to get 80 percent of adult Americans immunized by summer, the continuing reluctance of men to get a shot could impede that goal.

Women are getting vaccinated at a far higher rate — about 10 percentage points — than men, even though the male-female divide is roughly even in the nation’s overall population. The trend is worrisome to many, especially as vaccination rates have dipped a bit recently.

The reasons for the U.S. gender gap are many, reflecting the role of women in specific occupations that received early vaccine priority, political and cultural differences and long standing patterns of women embracing preventive care more often generally than men.

The gap exists even as Covid-19 deaths worldwide have been about 2.4 times higher for men than among women. And the division elucidates the reality of women’s disproportionate role in caring for others in American society.

“It could matter to localized herd immunity,” said Alison Buttenheim, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on vaccine hesitancy. “While most experts are fretting about larger gaps by race, political party, religion and occupational group,” she said, many of which overlap with the gender disparities, “I haven’t heard of any specific initiatives to target men.”

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