Study does not link COVID-19 vaccination to increased risk of car accidents

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picture: Joe Radle (Getty Images)

Science has a way of presenting actual facts and connecting dots that you probably never saw. For example, who would have thought to find a link between the people who chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and traffic accidents? A recently published study in The American Journal of Medicine shares the science behind such a connection that actually exists.

In the study, Canadian researchers examined over 11 million COVID-19 vaccination records from people over the age of 18 who would be licensed, from diverse social, economic and health backgrounds. Of those 11 million, 16 percent (1,760,000) were unvaccinated. The researchers then looked at records and identified unvaccinated people who may have diseases linked to traffic risks, such as dementia, diabetes, sleep apnea and alcohol abuse – and then looked at the side of the traffic accidents. These situations included incidents of patients being sent to the emergency room at the time and day, ambulance involvement, and a “triage severity score.”

Taking all these parameters into account, the researchers were able to determine that people who had not received a COVID-19 vaccine were at a higher risk of being involved in a traffic accident. But it wasn’t because of the vaccination. The connection actually boils down to risks related to decision-making – in relation to decisions to vaccinate and also to comply (or not to comply) with traffic rules.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that if you don’t get shot, you’ll get into a traffic accident or cause a traffic accident. Correlation doesn’t work that way. However, the researchers concluded that if a person is reluctant or unwilling to “protect” themselves with the vaccine, those same people would be more likely to disobey traffic rules. And the data is there to back it up.

From the unvaccinated 72 percent were more likely to be involved in a serious car accident. Those numbers look worse when the study pointed out that the percentage was “similar to the relative risk associated with sleep apnea,” but still not as bad as those who abused alcohol. But the risk is still there, so much so that the study states that the risk “exceeds the safety gains from modern advances in automotive technology and also endangers other road users.”

One thing the study admitted was that “correlation does not imply causation.” The study did not attempt to touch on whether or not there was a link between not getting the vaccine and reckless driving. But the authors of the study speculated.

One possibility concerns a distrust of government or a belief in liberty, which contributes to both vaccination preferences and increased traffic risks. Another explanation could be misconceptions about everyday risks, belief in natural protection, antipathy to regulations, chronic poverty, vulnerability to misinformation, insufficient resources, or other personal beliefs. Alternative factors could include political identity, negative past experiences, limited health literacy, or social networks that raise concerns about public health policies. These subjective unknowns remain subjects for further research.”

If you want to know more, you can read more about the study and its results here.

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