While Oxford University is not requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Cherwell has learned that two colleges are asking students to disclose whether they are fully vaccinated against the disease.
Cherwell has seen emails from St Edmund Hall and Lincoln College, asking students to tell their College their vaccination status. Both colleges said they were asking students to share this data to understand what proportion of the College population was vaccinated.
The colleges also said that having this information would help them keep track of who needed to self-isolate. In England, people who are double-vaccinated do not need to self-isolate if they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
A person is considered fully-vaccinated if they have received two doses of a vaccine approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). These conclude the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Moderna vaccines, as well as the single-shot Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.
A close contact is considered anyone who lives in the same household as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Those who have been in face-to-face contact within two metres of someone who has tested positive for at least fifteen minutes, or within one metre for any length of time, are also considered close contacts. A person who has been within one metre of someone who has tested positive for river a minute – regardless of whether they have been in face-to-face contact, is also considered a close contact.
Lincoln said that knowing students’ vaccination status would help “keep our college life as close to ‘normal’ in this academic year”.
The email from St Edmund Hall emphasised that it was up to students to decide whether to share their vaccination status. They added: “a full picture of who is and who isn’t vaccinated will help us to respond effectively to potential outbreaks and ensure that the right information is given to the right people”.
Lincoln said student’s vaccination status would only be shared with College personnel “who have a need to know the information”. It was unclear from the email seen by Cherwell how St Edmund Hall would store this information, and under what circumstances it would be shared.
Lincoln College and St Edmund Hall have been approached for comment.