What’s this about men thinking they’re … invincible? 

By Sam Reed
Apr 23, 2021 @ 12:21 pm
Advertisement
Men Aren't Getting Vaxxed and I'm Mad
Credit: FPG/Getty Images

New data regarding the gender gap between those who have received the vaccine and those who have been twiddling their thumbs shows men falling 10 percentage points behind women. Of course, this comes at the detriment of everyone else, aka women and nonbinary people.

There are too many consequential traits displayed by men in this patriarchal society of ours to count, but three of my least favorites appear to be at play here: hubris (I am smarter/stronger/more interesting than other people); impatience (men? Interrupting women? *Clutches pearls*); and selfishness ('Babe, I see you're really busy but can you please drop everything to do this mundane task that I don't want to do'). If my sentiment is coming across a little strong, it's because the wounds are fresh.

Before I get not all men-ed off the internet, I gamely acknowledge that there are of course exceptions to this rule. In its report, the New York Times concedes that women were also more likely to be working in essential fields, where they would have been among the first eligible to receive the vaccine, and also made up a larger proportion of the elderly communities who were also in the highest priority tier of vaccine eligibility. But these facts alone do not account for such a wide gap. 

Speaking with the New York Times, Paul Simon, M.D., the chief science officer at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, offered that "some men have a sense that they are not necessarily susceptible." (That's the hubris.) This in the face of the fact Covid has been deadlier for men than women worldwide. "They have weathered this for more than a year and have a sense of omnipotence," says Dr. Simon. 

Men thinking they're invincible? Who, besides every woman ever, would have thought??

The patience required to book a vaccine appointment has also been pointed to as a possible factor. As we know, booking an appointment in the early days of availability was more difficult than securing a ticket to weekend one of the Beyoncé-headlined 2018 Coachella festival. Impatience and hubris, as any Greek myth would tell you, can be a quite deadly combo. 

Another excuse — er, contributing point — listed in the report: Men are more likely to be registered as Republicans, the party among which more misinformation about the pandemic has been spread. (Political affiliation is also a big reason why men wear masks less often than women.) Dr. Simon, who has been trying to buoy the 14% gender gap in vaccinations in Los Angeles, has considered ad campaigns that specifically target men. He may want to consider using a male narrator, though, as a separate study concluded that men are more likely to be skeptical of a woman's voice. That finding extends to male skepticism of their wives and other women who have been vaccinated or done their own research. Somewhere, Rebecca Solnit is screaming. 

The most "ugh"-inducing part of all of this, though, might just be the fact that because more women are likely to get vaccinated, thus reducing the chances of men as a whole being infected, some men will experience a confirmation bias, further cementing their beliefs that they were, after all, invincible. (There's a reason that women made up a majority of the Vaccine Angels, the groups that selflessly booked appointments for their more vulnerable family members, neighbors, and even strangers in their areas.) Call it an effect of the conditioning of women to be caregivers, the point stands that women have proven more selfless since the pandemic began.

After all is said and jabbed, men's selfishness will be offset thanks to the work being done by women. And for my suffering (I'm currently recovering from the aftermath of my second Pfizer shot and extreme menstrual cramps — honestly men could never) I will be told I'm … not deserving of equal pay? Too emotional? An angry feminist? Bring it on.