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Penn State Shares Early COVID-19 Vaccination Status Data

During a virtual town hall Tuesday, Penn State administrators provided a glimpse into student and employee vaccination rates for the first time.

About 77% of surveyed students said they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims. The survey, sent out to more than 87,000 Penn State students, garnered an overall 42% response rate and a 54% response rate at University Park.

More than 37,000 students responded to the survey by July 31. 82% of University Park respondents said they’re vaccinated, while 66% of Commonwealth Campus respondents said they’re fully covered, too.

“We’re mindful of the fact that this survey may have a response bias built into it, but we still think this is a valuable data point,” Sims said, noting the optional survey closes on Friday, August 6.

Meanwhile, 92% of employee respondents said they’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Employee surveys were sent to more than 35,000 faculty and staff across Penn State’s entire network. About half responded, garnering a 56% response rate.

93% of University Park employee respondents said they’re vaccinated. 91% of Commonwealth Campus employee respondents said they’re vaccinated.

“We hope that all of our faculty and staff will continue to take this virus seriously, and if they’ve not been vaccinated, will do so soon,” said Lorraine Goffe, vice president of human resources.

In a statement, Penn State said the survey results with self-reported vaccination rates are encouraging. However, bias can’t be avoided.

“The Office of Planning, Assessment and Institutional Research, which prepared and distributed the University-wide survey, cautions that there is the potential for response bias in the survey results as vaccinated individuals may be more likely to respond to the survey than unvaccinated individuals, which could lead to lower vaccination rates in the non-respondent population,” Penn State said. “However, the survey does provide robust estimates of the range of vaccination rates in our community.”

Penn State confirmed Tuesday it still won’t require COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees this fall. However, Penn State President Eric Barron said the university strongly encourages vaccines for those who can receive them.

In its town hall, Penn State said it will ramp up testing for unvaccinated individuals this fall, promising strong consequences for those who don’t comply. The university will employ a mix of pre-arrival, surveillance, and on-demand COVID-19 testing this fall.

More specific details surrounding Penn State’s fall semester plan will be shared soon, according to administrators.

This is a breaking news post. We’ll update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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