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Could Vaccine Status Affect Car Insurance Policies? Why New Research Findings Are Raising Concerns.

AP Photo/LM Otero

If one thing the pandemic taught us, it's that even dubious studies can be used to justify policy. That was the case with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's reliance on a deeply flawed Arizona study, which showed schools that didn't have mask mandates in place were 3.5 times as likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak than ones that did, to justify in-school mask use among children 2 and older. Numerous experts denounced that study, calling it "so unreliable that it probably should not have been entered into the public discourse." But CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and the agency doubled down regardless. 

Now, a new study from Canadian researchers published in The American Journal of Medicine is raising alarm among those who believe its findings could affect driver insurance policies. 

During the summer of 2021, Canadian researchers examined the encrypted government-held records of more than 11 million adults, 16% of whom hadn’t received the COVID vaccine.

They found that the unvaccinated people were 72% more likely to be involved in a severe traffic crash—in which at least one person was transported to the hospital—than those who were vaccinated. That’s similar to the increased risk of car crashes for people with sleep apnea, though only about half that of people who abuse alcohol, researchers found.

The excess risk of car crash posed by unvaccinated drivers “exceeds the safety gains from modern automobile engineering advances and also imposes risks on other road users,” the authors wrote.

Of course, skipping a COVID vaccine does not mean that someone will get into a car crash. Instead, the authors theorize that people who resist public health recommendations might also “neglect basic road safety guidelines.” […]

The findings are significant enough that primary care doctors should consider counseling unvaccinated patients on traffic safety—and insurance companies might base changes to insurance policies on vaccination data, the authors suggest. (Fortune)

The researchers argue that vaccine hesitancy could reflect a person's psychology overall, which includes an inclination toward more risky behavior. Or that such people have "misconceptions of everyday risks, faith in natural protection, antipathy toward regulation, chronic poverty, exposure to misinformation, insufficient resources, or other personal beliefs." 

Still, they state an obvious limitation of the study (among others), which is that correlation is not causation. But that likely won't deter those seeking to capitalize on the paper's findings or who want to continue forcing jabs by any means necessary. 


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