The vast majority of Queen’s University students say they have chosen to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a survey.
The school’s infection disease specialist Dr. Gerald Evans posted to Twitter earlier this week that a survey of incoming students done by the school shows that almost 98 per cent say they are fully vaccinated.
“Those kinds of numbers are actually quite extraordinary,” Evans said in an interview Tuesday.
“I think it bodes well, if I can say so, for the university to have what might be a little bit more of a regular academic year at the university in general.”
Still, Evans said getting proof of vaccination has been more challenging than getting a simple yes or no answer.
“People are on vacation. People don’t check things. They may forget that email that really asks them, ‘Can you send us your documentation?’ So it has been a challenge,” he said.
Still, that proof will be required by the school to access campus, and Evans says unless the majority of respondents are lying, when the proof is provided, Queen’s is expecting very high immunization rates among its student body.
Evans believes Queen’s newly instated vaccine mandate, which requires everyone attending campus to have at least one dose before Sept. 1 and a second by Oct. 15, is the reason so many students have already gotten their vaccines.
“There’s no question that vaccine mandates work,” he said.
The university’s official move in dates run from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4, but students have already started to settle into the downtown core, some celebrating their arrival in Kingston with street parties.
This has caused some trepidation locally, since Queen’s students contributed greatly to cases in the KFL&A region last year, making up about a quarter of total case counts and ushering in three large outbreaks.
But Evans believes the vaccine mandate and what he says is the resulting high vaccination rates among students will curb cases on campus this year.
“High vaccination rates are going to ensure, I think, the public that universities and other post-secondary institutions are not going to be the source of more cases. And I know that’s been a worry here in Kingston, where we’re a university and college town,” he said.