UBC will require proof of vaccination when declaring immunization status

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UBC has already mandated proof of vaccination for student housing, clubs, varsity sports and other non-essential activities.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
UBC has already mandated proof of vaccination for student housing, clubs, varsity sports and other non-essential activities. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Just three days before the start of the school term, the University of British Columbia has clarified it will now require all 90,000 of its students, faculty and staff to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination when declaring their immunization status.

UBC president Santa Ono tweeted the announcement Saturday morning, saying that members on campus will be asked to declare that they're fully vaccinated and show proof, or undergo regular rapid testing.

The policy had previously been limited to disclosing one's vaccination status, raising concerns that declarations could be falsified.

Ono had hinted Thursday that self-disclosure would include a "functionality for verification," although it wasn't clear what that would look like.

Matthew Ramsey, the school's director of university affairs, said more information on the rollout would be shared as soon as Tuesday.

"It's a very complex system to design and implement," he said Saturday.

He added that the frequency of rapid testing is still being determined.

B.C.'s provincial health officer has mandated proof of vaccination for student housing, clubs, varsity sports and other non-essential activities.

Other major universities in B.C., including Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, have said they will ask for vaccination statuses.

It wasn't immediately clear Saturday whether they would follow UBC's lead and also require proof of vaccination.

83% of students fully vaccinated: survey

According to Ramsey, a survey conducted by Vancouver Coastal Health found that 83 per cent of students on the Vancouver campus have received two doses of the vaccine as of Aug. 16.

About 92 per cent say they have received at least one dose, and the "vast majority" of the remainder said they planned to get vaccinated before the start of classes on Tuesday, Ramsey said.

He added that the survey was distributed to all incoming students on the Vancouver campus and received about 16,000 responses.

On Saturday, Ono tweeted that 95 per cent of students surveyed at UBC's Okanagan campus said they had received both doses.

That survey was conducted by Interior Health, Ramsey said, but he couldn't provide the number of students surveyed or respondents.

At least one UBC professor cautioned the surveys could suffer from volunteer bias.

The school did not provide the findings for either survey. Vancouver Coastal Health and Interior Health did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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