NEWS Unvaccinated for COVID 48% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident

Unvaccinated for COVID 48% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident

A large study has found an unexpected link between refusing a COVID-19 vaccine and being involved in road accidents. According to the study’s authors, the increased risk of traffic accidents among unvaccinated people is comparable to the risk faced by people with sleep apnea.

The study, published in the American Journal of Medicine, looked at data on 11,270,763 people, 16 percent of whom had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The team then looked at data from emergency services in Ontario, Canada, in which a traffic accident resulted in hospitalization, controlling for factors such as age and medical conditions.

It might seem odd to look for a correlation between vaccination status and accident involvement, but the team noted that previous research has linked people’s psychology — such as aggressive personality — to accidents.

“For example, simple immune activation against coronavirus had no direct effect on traffic behavior or motor vehicle crash risk,” the team wrote in the study. “Instead, we speculate that individual adults who tend to resist public health advice may also ignore basic road safety norms.”

Sure enough, the data showed that unvaccinated people were more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than those who had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Despite accounting for 16 percent of the study population, the unvaccinated accounted for 25 percent of traffic accidents (requiring hospitalization) in the following months. After adjusting for factors such as home location, socioeconomic status and other medical conditions, they found a 48 percent increased risk of being involved in a traffic accident among the unvaccinated.

“Increased traffic risk among unvaccinated individuals extends to different subgroups [and] The relative risk associated with sleep apnea was similar,” the team added. The risk was higher than that faced by people with diabetes, but lower than that faced by someone who was driving while intoxicated.

The authors note that they cannot claim a causal relationship because the study did not examine reasons for vaccination hesitancy or dangerous driving. However, they do suggest some possible explanations for the correlation.

“One possibility is related to distrust of government or mistrust of liberty, which contributes to increased vaccination preferences and transport risks,” they wrote in the study. “Another explanation may be a misunderstanding of everyday risks , beliefs in conservation, aversion to regulation, chronic poverty, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources, or other personal beliefs.”

“Other factors may include political identity, past negative experiences, limited health knowledge, or social networks that lead to doubts about public health guidelines.”

The team also noted that a limitation of the study was that they could only look at traffic accidents that resulted in hospitalization. Nonetheless, they concluded, “The findings suggest that unvaccinated adults need to be careful when communicating with others indoors and outdoors.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine.

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