When equality costs lives

October 30, 2009 | NeW Staff

I rarely say this; the New York Times has it right. Really, not kidding. An op-ed by Sarba Klein and Phyllis Greenberger 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 by the Archives of Internal Medicine to show that women’s bodies 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.

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.

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.

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