COVID Vaccine Hesitancy and Risk of a Traffic Crash

December 02, 2021 | 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Speaker: Donald Redelmeier, Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto; Canada Research Chair in Medical Decision Sciences; Director of Clinical Epidemiology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies in Ontario; Staff physician in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Sunnybrook Hospital


COVID vaccine hesitancy is a reflection of judgment, reasoning, and other psychological influences that may also contribute to traffic safety. We tested whether COVID vaccine hesitancy was associated with an increased risk of a serious traffic crash.

A total of 11,270,763 adults were identified, of whom 16% had not received a COVID vaccine and 84% had received a COVID vaccine. Those who had not received the vaccine accounted for a disproportionate number of crashes, equivalent to a significant increased traffic risk. The association between a lack of COVID vaccine and increased traffic risks extended to diverse patient subgroups, persisted after adjusting for measured baseline differences, applied across a spectrum of crash severity, and was similar to the relative risk associated with a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

We suggest that COVID vaccine hesitancy is associated with a significant increased risk of a serious traffic crash. An awareness of this counter-intuitive finding might contribute to more public support for the COVID vaccine.

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Location: LKSC 130 (in person for Stanford faculty, students and staff only). Contact Elizabeth Munoz ( for dial-in details.

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