Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
2 minute read
8 Oct 2021
2:13 pm

Vaccine hesitancy’s wee problem: study links Covid-19 to erectile dysfunction

Nica Richards

Contrary to the one of many myths circulating about Covid-19 vaccines, men are actually at more risk of erectile dysfunction if they get the virus.

Covid-19 can cause erectile dysfunction, a new pilot study has shown. Picture: iStock

If there was ever a time where men had to step up and take the vaccine plunge, it would be now. 

In light of a new pilot study published in the National Library of Medicine, Covid-19 can cause erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Penile tissue was collected from four patients undergoing surgery for severe ED, two with a history of Covid-19, and two without. 

It was concluded that the presence of the Covid-19 virus in the penis was traceable long after the initial infection. 

ALSO READ: Women more likely to trust Covid-19 vaccine, study finds

The scientists who conducted the study also said their results suggested that “widespread endothelial cell dysfunction from Covid-19 infection can contribute to ED”. 

Although future studies are needed on exactly how Covid-19 infections could lead to ED, the results are frightening. 

In a communique released by the Department of Health to The Citizen, it was emphasised that, contrary to yet another conjured up Covid-19 myth circulating on social media, the Covid-19 vaccine does not cause erectile dysfunction or male (or female) infertility. 

In fact, Covid-19 can cause ED and infertility in males. 

“Covid-19 increases the risk of developing ED by nearly six times.

“The choice is simple, vaccinate to stay safe!”

Male vaccine hesitancy in SA

In an Ask Afrika Covid-19 tracker study conducted in February, it was found that women were more likely to get the Covid-19 jab than men. 

On the whole, men at the time of reporting held a “significant higher sense of distrust” toward the vaccine than women, said Ask Afrika CEO and founder, Andrea Rademeyer. 

Towards the end of August, the ratio of the number of women versus men getting vaccinated was slowly narrowing, with 58.5 females to 41.5 males. 

ALSO READ: Covid-19 vaccine: Six most common myths debunked

In the most recent reporting, an article from The Conversation by South African Medical Research Council senior specialist scientist Andrew Gibbs explored the links between South African men’s vaccine hesitancy and research on HIV testing and treatment.

Some reasons for their hesitancy included ideas about masculinity and health, the perception that the health system was a place for women, and avoiding the risk of infection. 

Research found men felt testing and receiving treatment for men threatened their masculinity, and were concerned about how treatment would affect life’s pleasures, such as alcohol, sex and fertility. 

ALSO READ: Ouch! Anti-vaxxers might be forced to get Covid-19 vaccine

Even being sick in general is seen as showing vulnerability – despite vivid displays on the rare man flu occasions. 

According to the report, these factors also play a significant role in South African men’s hesitancy to get the Covid-19 jab. 

Another possible reason for hesitancy among men is the perception that they are not seen as being as at-risk of contracting Covid-19 than women. 

Additional reporting by News24 Wire