The percentage of documented COVID-19 vaccinations increased to 76.8 percent and 69.3 percent, respectively, for students and employees on campus during the week of May 27 to June 2, according to the Healthy Brown COVID-19 Testing Update.
Including students and employees not on campus, 50.6 percent and 67.5 percent, respectively, have documented their COVID-19 vaccinations with the University.
“We made some considerable jumps this past week,” said Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06. “We're very encouraged and really pleased with the progress that has been made.”
In the fall, the University will also accommodate students who experience greater challenges in accessing COVID-19 vaccines in their current locations. These students will be able to get vaccinated “readily” when they return to campus and will have to wear masks until they are fully vaccinated instead of returning early to campus, Carey said.
“In some countries there's no availability of vaccines,” or available vaccines may differ from those authorized in the United States, Carey said. “What we've been saying consistently to international students is ‘we understand, and we're going to work it out.’”
While a “small number” of vaccine exemptions will also be granted to students and employees, the University does not expect for this group to “impact our ability to return to normal operations,” Carey said.
Carey expects those who receive religious and medical vaccine exemptions under applicable law to continue wearing masks per current guidance for non-vaccinated individuals. But “people may continue to wear masks for a variety of reasons” independent of vaccination status, he added.
As documented vaccinations increased, the testing program also reported zero positive asymptomatic COVID-19 cases between May 27 and June 5, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
Meanwhile, University Health Services has continued its partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health to sequence samples of symptomatic COVID-19 tests from the University’s testing program to identify any virus variants present. The state department has not notified the University of any variants from this process, Carey said. Sequencing cannot be performed on every COVID-19 test, given the complex process involved, he noted.
The Dunkin Donuts Center continues to be the most “readily accessible opportunity” to get vaccinated, with the Brown shuttle available as transportation to the site, Carey said.
“We need people to keep doing two things: getting vaccinated if they haven't already and uploading their cards if they have,” he said.
Gabriella is the Senior Science & Research Editor of The Brown Daily Herald. She is a junior from San Francisco studying neuroscience on the premedical track.