In order to determine whether there is a difference between genders in reported adverse reactions to inactivated influenza vaccine, a computerized database of serological studies was investigated. A standardized questionnaire was used to evaluate vaccine reactogenicity. A total of 1,800 vaccinees in 14 studies were analyzed separately for two age groups ( < 60 and > or = 60 years of age). Females reported significantly more local reactions than males. The pooled odds ratio for the outcome measure "any local reaction" was 0.32 (95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.40, significant) and 0.54 (95% Cl, 0.41-0.70, significant) for young and elderly adults, respectively. Similar results were obtained for the outcome measure "any systemic reaction." Previous exposure to influenza or influenza vaccine had no influence on reactogenicity. There were no gender differences in sero-responses. In conclusion, gender should be regarded as a predictor of reported reactions to influenza vaccine in both young and elderly adults and should be addressed in future study designs.