A new study published in this month The American Journal of Medicine claimed that those who are not vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents, prompting outrage on Twitter. The study authors suggested that insurance companies should make changes to the policies of unvaccinated individuals.
“The observed risks could also justify changes in driver insurance in the future,” the Canadian researchers suggested.
The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, of the Sunnybrook Research Institute, claimed his research “proved that traffic risks were 50% to 70% more common in adults who had not been vaccinated than in those who had been.”
“This does not mean that the COVID-19 vaccination will directly prevent traffic accidents. Instead, it suggests that adults who don’t follow public health advice may also be disobeying traffic rules,” he concluded.
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When the report went viral late Tuesday, medical professionals and scientists commented on the controversial study.
“Here’s a hoax from a study that claims unvaccinated people are involved in more car accidents. There’s a lot wrong with that,” wrote Dr. Clare Craig, a British diagnostic pathologist, in a Twitter thread.
The doctor argued that the main problem with the study was that it was morally flawed, but also accused the researchers of misusing their data.
Craig argued that the study was flawed for a number of reasons, including the accumulation of unvaccinated pedestrians injured in accidents.
“These claims are based on accidents that resulted in hospitalization. Anyone who is injured is described in the newspaper as an ‘accident’ – even if the injured person was a pedestrian!” she wrote.
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The “fundamental error,” she said, was that the study relied on the government’s database of vaccinated individuals. She pointed out that you still had an accident and could not go to the hospital and therefore would not have been included in the study.
Referring to a table from the study, she wrote, “No matter how you hack the data, the risk appears to be increased by about the same amount.”
She argued that the study’s data could be used to make any type of claim about the unvaccinated, from a higher rate of “charity donation” to “recycling,” simply because the “denominator [was] artificially small.”
Other medical professionals derided the study as absurd.
dr Vinay Prasad, a hematologist, oncologist, and health researcher laughed at his conclusions. “This also reiterates the silly idea that GPs should specialize in driving unvaccinated people,” he tweeted with laughing emojis.
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Engineer and Substack author Polimath also derided the study as unintentional satire.
“I get terribly tired of saying, ‘These vaccine studies aren’t telling you helpful things, they’re misassigning confounding variables.’ So it’s nice that these researchers have presented my arguments for me in this satirical form,” the user wrote.
The Twitter user argued that the ultimate goal of such studies is to treat certain members of society as outcasts. “The ultimate goal of these studies is to say that these people are the misfit group and deserve everything bad that happens to them. We should intentionally make their lives worse,” they added.
Some conservative media figures agreed the study had nefarious intentions and used the science to argue that insurance companies should punish the unvaccinated.
Radio host Jason Rantz tweeted: “This is exactly the kind of nonsense study that sets the stage for auto insurance companies to charge the unvaccinated more for coverage. It’s transparent.”
Podcast host Dave Rubin slammed the study in a tweet: “This deserves the rare banana clown emoji combo.”
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The study looked at 6,682 traffic accidents in Ontario, Canada, during the summer of 2021 and found that the unvaccinated were responsible for 1,682 accidents, or 25% of them, which the researchers say “equates to a 72% increased relative risk compared to the vaccinated.”
Researchers suggested that there may be a link between “distrust of government, belief in freedom, misconceptions about everyday risks, belief in natural protection, aversion to regulation, chronic poverty, misinformation, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources and other personal beliefs”. to the increased risk of accidents on the road.