The Interior Health Authority (IHA) is trying to make it as convenient as possible for university students to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with pop-up clinics scheduled on-campus.
The immunization clinics will be set up at UBC Okanagan on Aug. 30, Sept. 8, and Sept. 17 for returning students, faculty and staff.
“We know the safety of our campuses increases when people are vaccinated,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training.
“These on-campus clinics make it easy and convenient to get the vaccine – make the choice to protect your community and play an active role in ensuring a safe return to school this fall.”
All students, faculty and staff can walk up, register and receive their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
People are eligible for their second dose 28 days after receiving their first.
“The health of our students, faculty and staff is a priority for all of us,” says Phil Barker, vice-principal of research and innovation at UBC Okanagan.
“That’s why, in partnership with UBC Okanagan, Interior Health is offering drop-in COVID-19 immunization clinics on campus this fall. UBCO encourages members of our community to protect themselves and everyone around them by getting vaccinated.”
UBC announced on Aug. 26 that mandatory vaccinations will not be required for students attending in-person classes, however, those who are not fully vaccinated will be subject to rapid COVID-19 testing.
“We will implement a process for confidential self-disclosure of vaccination status for all those who access our campuses, including students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said UBC president Santa Ono in a letter sent to the school community last week.
The measure is in addition to the public health order related to the provincial vaccine card program, which requires proof of vaccination for those living in student housing.
Mandatory vaccinations will also be required for discretionary activities, including indoor ticketed concerts and sporting events; indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants, pubs and bars; indoor high-intensity group exercise; movie theatres; gyms, pools and recreation facilities; and indoor organized gatherings, such as conferences, weddings and parties, both on and off-campus.
“We are confident these additional measures will augment the already high number of students who have been vaccinated,” Ono said.
UBC Vancouver released the results of a recent survey that found 92 per cent of responding students (16, 093 participated) are partially or fully vaccinated.
Similar vaccination status information will be collected for UBC Okanagan in the near future, the university said.
“To all our community members, I strongly recommend that you become vaccinated before returning to campus, if you are eligible,” Ono wrote.
While B.C.’s vaccine passport will not apply to post-secondary institutions, staff and students will need to mask-up in all indoor public places, including hallways and classrooms.
The City of Kelowna, where the UBC Okanagan campus is located, continues to be a COVID-19 hot spot in the province.
The Central Okanagan had 737 new cases from Aug. 15 to 21, for an average of 105 new cases a day. That’s a 20 per cent drop from the week earlier, when it had 922 cases.