Study links COVID vaccine refusal to increased risk of car accidents
Researchers found that people who haven’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine are 72% more likely to get in a car accident than those who are vaccinated
A new study in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine could be 72% more likely to get in a serious car accident, citing that failure to comply with public health guidance could also result in failure to obey basic traffic laws.
Details: The study reads, “We theorized that those ... individual adults who tend to resist public health recommendations might also neglect basic road safety guidelines.”
However, the study authors acknowledge that their research does have some limitations, including that it does not look into reasons that lead to vaccine hesitancy or risky driving.
These reasons could include “distrust of government or belief in freedom,” as well as “faith in natural protection, antipathy toward regulation, chronic poverty, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources or other personal beliefs.” Other reasons for vaccine hesitancy or risky driving could also include “political identity, negative past experiences, limited health literacy or social networks that lead to misgivings around public health guidelines.”
Method: To gather data for this study, the researchers analyzed medical records from over 11.2 million people in Ontario, Canada, and records from 178 medical centers in the province.
84% of the participants had received COVID-19 vaccinations, and 16% hadn’t. Out of 6,682 car accidents observed during the study, unvaccinated people accounted for 1,682 of those crashes, which is “equal to a 72% increased relative risk compared with those vaccinated,” the study reports.
Worth noting: While this is the first study linking COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy to car accident risk, it’s not the first study that links vaccine refusal in general to car accidents. According to Fortune, a 2021 study published in the Journal of Bioeconomics links self-reported risky driving to those who had skipped their flu shot.
The study dealing with COVID-19 vaccines also mentioned other studies linking psychology and traffic risks. One study found that personality disorders are more common in people who have been in multiple car accidents, as opposed to those who have not been in any. Another study found that young people with more aggressive personalities are more likely to be in car accidents.