Virtually all Western students and employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest data shows.
More than 98 per cent of the campus community has submitted their vaccination status to Western; about 99 per cent of those respondents who access campus are fully vaccinated.
Mandatory proof of vaccination is just one of the ways Western has been working to keep the community safe and healthy throughout the pandemic.
“These results are spectacular, but not surprising. They demonstrate what I’ve known from the beginning: members of our campus community take care of each other, and they trust the science,” said president Alan Shepard.
“A highly vaccinated campus population not only protects Western but also the broader community, including our neighbours, our families and those with health vulnerabilities.”
Health officials deem double vaccination to be one of the best ways to prevent becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
Under strengthened policies, procedures and precautions, Western students and employees were required to upload proof of vaccination by Sept. 7. Those unable to provide proof of full vaccination between Sept. 7 and Oct. 12 were required to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, with results submitted to the university in order to attend campus.
As of Oct. 12, everyone coming to campus must show proof of full vaccination, including visitors. Students and employees who have been granted an accommodation by the university or have made an accommodation request and are awaiting a decision, must be tested for COVID-19 at least twice over a seven-day period, with each test separated by a minimum of 72 hours.
Matt Mills, director of health, safety and well-being, said comprehensive health measures have allowed Western to safely resume in-person classes and activities while keeping infection rates low on campus. These measures include:
- being among the first universities in Canada to require mask-wearing a year ago, when infectious-disease experts determined it was an effective way to slow transmission of the virus;
- being among the first Canadian universities to require vaccination for students in residence and then for all students and employees;
- having an on-campus testing and vaccination site, daily health screening for students and employees and contact tracing in the event of a positive case;
- implementing enhanced cleaning, sanitization and ventilation in all buildings; and
- starting a pilot project for early detection of COVID-19 in residence wastewater.
“Since January 2020, we have worked closely with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, with other health agencies, researchers, governments, industry partners and our own experts to ensure our policies and practices are guided by the prevailing evidence,” Mills said.
“In an institution where 46,000 people learn, study, teach, research and work, it’s notable that the number of positive COVID-19 cases remains very low among the Western community since in-person classes resumed six weeks ago.”
Given Western regularly welcomes new students and hires new employees, response and vaccination rates may shift over time. Rates are updated every Friday on the university’s COVID-19 website.