CU Boulder reports over 90% vaccination rate for students, employees

University of Colorado Boulder officials are reporting vaccination rates above 90% for students and employees who have completed the campus vaccine requirement or filed for an exemption.

As of the Wednesday deadline, 31,421, or 88%, of students had completed the required form and 95% of those students were vaccinated, while 9,210, or 92%, of employees had completed the required form and 96% of those were vaccinated.

The campus will likely see an increase in the number of students and employees reporting as officials reach out to those who haven’t completed the requirement, Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke said. It’s also possible some are waiting until the last minute to complete the form and it’s still being processed, he said.

“If you would have told me months ago that we’d be at 95 or 96% vaccination rate for students, faculty and staff, I would have been turning cartwheels down the hall,” O’Rourke said. “I couldn’t be happier that we’re seeing such a good uptake.”

There are a series of consequences for students and employees who still don’t complete the form after the reminders go out. For students, it starts with fees and escalates to not being able to register for classes next semester. For employees, it starts with a letter in their employee record and can escalate to impacts on performance evaluations, disqualification for merit increases and being fired.

Vaccination data helps campus leaders make decisions about masking policies and communicate with public health officials, O’Rourke said.

“It’s not just so we know what’s going on with them individually, it’s really about keeping the campus and community safe,” he said.

CU Boulder can expect to see a low number of coronavirus cases with that high of vaccination rates, said Roy Parker, director of the BioFrontiers Institute.

“It’s very clear that vaccines work,” Parker said. “They reduce risk of infection. You can still get a breakthrough infection, but if you do, the risk of you transmitting that to someone else is reduced. And very importantly, there’s a large reduction in the risk of severe disease.”

Keeping the campus community safe also impacts the surrounding community, Parker said.

“Having a highly vaccinated university community has an added benefit for Boulder as a community as well,” he said.

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