Universities are running out of time on their own vaccination deadlines
The lag time between Moderna and Pfizer shots means some students may not be able to get fully vaccinated before the dates imposed by their universities.
'Campus Reform' surveyed a number of private and public universities across the country to see where student vaccination rates stand weeks ahead of the fall semester.
As college students prepare to go back to school, universities that are requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are on a collision course with lagging vaccination rates just weeks before the fall semester.
Campus Reform looked at student vaccination rates at other major universities that are requiring students to get a COVID vaccine. We found multiple colleges where significant numbers of students have not yet complied with the mandate, even with deadlines approaching quickly.
In short, one out of every three Virginia Tech students has less than two weeks to get themselves fully vaccinated, or else they will not be allowed to attend classes in the fall. Since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced several weeks apart, a student who has not yet received the first dose as of this writing will not be fully vaccinated by the deadline.
Emory University says that 77.5% of their students are vaccinated, which leaves more than one in five students that need to comply before the school's August 1 deadline. Those who do not comply with the policy may lose their ability to register for classes or to change their existing class schedule.
The University of Connecticut has set a July 31st deadline for all students to be either vaccinated or exempted on religious or medical grounds. As of July 28, 87% of residential students at the university's main campus have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
Based on the timing of that data, the remaining 13% of students who have not received any doses lack sufficient time between July 28 and the July 31 deadline to be fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The university's vaccination policy states that "failure to comply...may result in a loss of privilege and/or sanctions."
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is requiring students who live on campus to be vaccinated before they move in to campus housing. As of July 26, the University reports that 79% of the student body, regardless of where they live, are fully vaccinated.
Though the deadline for students to submit documentation of their vaccine was July 16, The university is still permitting students to upload their vaccine documentation late and holding upcoming vaccine clinics to encourage compliance.
U.C. Berkeley has set an August 4 deadline for all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but so far, the school estimates that slightly over half of returning undergraduate students are vaccinated.
The California university does allow partially-vaccinated students to return to campus so long as they get the second dose of their vaccine, and on the condition that they wear masks in public places and submit to weekly testing until they are fully vaccinated.
With vaccination rates still lagging as college deadlines approach, colleges will be forced to confront the fact that a significant portion of their students are likely to be unvaccinated at the time the Fall semester begins. Students who do not comply with the vaccination policies will be forced to confront consequences from their universities, including losing access to campus buildings and being unable to attend classes.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito