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Oxford University to survey students’ vaccination status

Charlie Hancock reports.

Oxford University will ask students to fill out the COVID-19 Vaccination Survey during the third and fourth weeks of Michaelmas term. Students will receive an email with a link to the survey on Tuesday October 26th.

According to an email sent to students on October 25th, the survey will be voluntary, and the University will protect the anonymity of students who take part. Colleges and departments will not be able to find out whether an individual student will have been vaccinated from this survey.

Cherwell has already reported that St Edmund Hall and Lincoln College had asked their students to tell them their vaccination status in order to see what proportion of their population were vaccinated against COVID-19. Students who have already completed surveys within their college are asked to participate in the University-wide survey as well, because surveys used within colleges were not designed to be shared with the Office for Students.

The Office for Students, the independent regulator of higher education institutions in England, has asked all universities to run these surveys. The University said that “high levels of vaccine uptake recorded through the survey is likely to provide assurance to the wider community”.

The regulator did not ask for university staff to be surveyed.

Experimental statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that 90% of students in England had received a COVID-19 vaccine, and that 78% had received two doses. However, these statistics are based on a small sample size with a low response rate, so the ONS recommends interpreting this statistic cautiously.

Responses to the survey will be used by the University to understand what percentage of students are fully or partially vaccinated across the University, its departments and colleges. Once this has been calculated, students’ responses will be deleted and will not be shared with anyone, nor connected to their student record.

Oxford University says that they consulted staff and students about the survey via the University’s COVID-19 planning groups. Oxford University Student Union is supportive of the survey.

The deadline for completing the survey is 5pm on Friday November 5th. Further information can be found here.

Image: Branňo via unsplash.com

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