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Exposing the gender health gap: Covid-19 vaccine studies show women’s health still sidelined

As of 29 March 2022, over 39,000 reports of menstrual changes or unexpected vaginal bleeding following COVID-19 vaccination had been made to the ‘Yellow Card’ surveillance scheme run by the UK Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Similar patterns were noticed in other countries and studies began.

Dr Victoria Male led a team at Imperial in a study of 79 individuals who were asked to record at least three consecutive cycles during which they received at least one dose of the vaccine. The study found that either dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is associated with a delay to the subsequent period, a 2.3 day delay after dose one on average across the study, and 1.3 days after dose two.

In May of this year The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said they were still reviewing reports of suspected menstrual side effects from the Coronavirus vaccine.

They added: “The rigorous evaluation completed to date does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and related symptoms and COVID-19 vaccines.

“While uncomfortable or distressing, period problems are extremely common and stressful life events can disrupt menstrual periods.”

Despite the MHRA’s interpretation of the studies, the voices of individual show that in some cases, changes to menstrual cycles after the vaccine were significant and had a big impact on people’s daily lives.

We spoke to four women and Mika Simmons of The Happy Vagina podcast about their experience of the gender health gap in vaccine testing and beyond, and about what is being done to close it.

Read the full story here

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