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Penn State Releases More Student COVID-19 Vaccine Survey Findings

Penn State recently released more findings from anonymous surveys taken by students regarding their vaccination status.

According to a release, the university is using these results to “help inform COVID-19 contingency plans for fall 2021 and promote health and safety.”

The survey was issued in early July and closed on August 6. The Penn State Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research (OPAIR) sent the survey to 87,783 undergraduate and graduate students. In total, the survey gathered responses from 65% of students at University Park and Commonwealth Campuses.

Overall, 71% of students at University Park responded to the survey. However, just 56% of Commonwealth Campus students responded to the survey. Additionally, just 20% of World Campus students responded.

Among undergraduate and graduate student respondents:

  • 88% of University Park respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated
  • 73% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated
  • 84% of World Campus respondents report being partially or fully vaccinated

Among undergraduate student respondents:

  • 83% of University Park respondents report being fully vaccinated
  • 67% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated
  • 76% of World Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

​Among graduate student respondents:

  • 79% of University Park respondents report being fully vaccinated
  • 75% of Commonwealth Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated
  • 91% of World Campus respondents report being fully vaccinated

“I am grateful to those who took the time to complete the anonymous survey, as this data is vital for the success of our fall return to campus,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of the University’s COVID-19 Operations Control Center. “The survey results evidence progress with student vaccination rates, which we are pleased to see. The safety of our University community is of utmost importance, and we continue to strongly urge all to get vaccinated.”

In a statement, Penn State said the survey results with self-reported vaccination rates are promising. However, bias is inevitable.

“The results of the student survey with self-reported vaccination rates are promising,” Penn State said. “However, as with the employee survey results, OPAIR 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. Nevertheless, the survey provides sound estimations of the range of vaccination rates in the student community. ”

Regardless of whether students completed the survey, Penn State is asking everyone to submit their vaccination status through myUHS or, for students, Salesforce Health Cloud. On-arrival COVID-19 testing will be required for all students who haven’t told Penn State they’re vaccinated.

To date, Penn State has not required COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees. More than 700 universities nationwide, including eight Big Ten schools, have.

Penn State is now requiring indoor mask-wearing for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status, due to rising COVID-19 transmission levels in Pennsylvania. Penn State’s mask-wearing policy could be rescinded if transmission levels lower across the state.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a senior biology major from York, Pa, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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