The protection and benefits of seatbelts far outweigh the inconvenience and risks associated with wearing them, and we happily wear them to protect ourselves. So how well do COVID-19 vaccines protect us?
Legislation making seat belts mandatory in Australia was first introduced in 1970. Seat belt laws are now commonplace across the globe, with little objection, as the protection and benefits far outweigh the inconvenience and risks associated with wearing them.
Seat belts have proven to be a significant factor in decreasing the severity of injury or death in a crash by 50%.1 In the same way, people who have had two COVID-19 vaccination doses have shown drastically lower chances of hospitalisation and death by close to 90%.2
It is still possible to catch COVID-19 even if you have been vaccinated, just as you can still get into a car accident even if you are wearing a seatbelt. Vaccinations do, however:
- reduce the chance you will be infected with COVID-19 by around 60% – 80%2
- give you around 90% protection2 against hospitalisation or death from COVID-19 if you are infected
- significantly reduce the overall spread of COVID-19.
Seat belts are only one measure of minimising risk and keeping safe when driving. Similarly, in addition to getting vaccinated, it is recommended to still take best practice everyday precautions when it comes to COVID-19. This includes:
- getting tested and self-isolating if you have symptoms, no matter how mild3
- practising good hygiene
- keeping 1.5 metres distance from others wherever and whenever possible
- downloading the COVID SAfe app4 and checking in wherever you go.
Wearing a seat belt does not stop the risk of others being hurt if a crash were to occur. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one! However, getting vaccinated protects you and other people by decreasing your chances of contracting COVID-19 in the first place and minimising the spread to vulnerable groups5 such as the elderly.
Seat belt related injuries are possible but are often minimal. The COVID-19 vaccines may result in minor reactions6 such as:
- tenderness, pain and swelling at the injection site
- muscle and joint pain
The benefits of protection against COVID-19 far outweigh the risks from rare and generally mild side effects. Severe injuries and death resulting from the use of a seat belt is extremely uncommon, as is severe reactions and death caused by COVID-19 vaccinations. However, these do occur, and are reported by the government, just like serious road accidents and deaths are reported by the government.
Information on severe side effects such as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), Immune Thrombocytopenia, myocarditis and pericarditis is published in a weekly safety report7 from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Getting vaccinated is similar to wearing a seatbelt
Hooman Noorchashm COVID-19 Vaccines And Automobile Seatbelts: A Precise Analogy