The vaccination of people under 50 against Covid-19 in Portugal created a massive gender divide in the whole vaccination process. Portugal announced that men in the 18-50 age group would be getting the J&J (Janssen) vaccine while women would get only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Astrazeneca vaccine is not given to that age group regardless of gender.

For those not acquainted with the different Covid vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have a 95% and 94.1% effectiveness respectively and nearly 100% effectiveness at preventing death or serious illness. Janssen vaccine on the other hand has 66% effectiveness in preventing moderate to severe disease. The excuse given for the gender segregation was that most cases of blood clots from Janssen vaccine occurred in women. However the truth is cases were extremely rare on both genders and the European Medicines Agency has recommended it for both genders within that age group. Portugal chose not to follow that recommendation.

It gets worse, however. Currently 90% of infections in Portugal come from the Delta variant. While Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (and most two-dose vaccines) have been proven to have very high efficacy against this variant, Janssen vaccine is thought to have little to no efficacy against it, similar to single shots of the remaining vaccines. This is concerning to the point that in the US there are already Pfizer/Moderna booster shots being administered to people who took the Janssen vaccine due to the Delta variant. Men in Portugal are being given a vaccine that offers little to no protection to the variant we have, and the government is aware of that.

Officially men in Portugal can be given the Janssen vaccine, but there is no official "men get this, women get that" rule. However such rule remains in practice in vaccination centers nonetheless.

Today I went to have my vaccine. I asked which one they were giving and of course it was Janssen. I asked whether they could give any of the others as this was the only vaccine I wasn't comfortable in getting. Staff consulted with each other (all female staff) and afterwards with the nurse and claimed it was impossible, that they only had Janssen vaccine. This is of course a lie since there were plenty of women in my age group getting the vaccine there and currently women in this age group cannot be given Janssen vaccine at all unless they volunteer themselves. This means a vaccination centre that is accepting women cannot have the Janssen vaccine exclusively. In other words their response shows a de facto rule that men are given only Janssen vaccine is being enforced.

Quoting the official announcement, "this single-dose vaccine may also be administered to women aged 50 years or below "who wish to do so, if duly informed, on a basis of weighing the benefits and risks", provided they express their "free and informed consent". Once again, "free and informed consent" is a right men do not have as is the case in many other matters.

This comes added to the fact that men are very disproportionately killed by Covid-19, with a current mortality of 2.1% (9.016 deaths among 415.709 infected) compared to women's 1.6% mortality (8.148 deaths among 493.506 infected). It's no surprise that men are considered disposable in Portugal as is usually the rule everywhere else. In fact, when the number of workplace accidents went from 78% male to 69% male the national worker's union (CGTP) presented it as an "aggravation of the gender inequality in work accidents" (Source in Portuguese), since male lives don't really matter.

Both the minster of health and the director of DGS (the authority that decides which vaccines are to be used, who they're administered to, etc.) are women.