COVID-19 vaccines are critical for ending the pandemic. Many in the Carolina community got the shot for more personal reasons.
The Well, Thursday, June 24th, 2021
Some do it to protect their friends and colleagues. Others can’t wait to attend a live-music event or linger over a leisurely restaurant meal. Still others simply want to hug again.
Whatever the reason, they get a COVID-19 vaccination and, for many, it’s as if a burden of worry has been lifted.
Last week, one of the most frequent questions students and parents asked the staff at Campus Health was: “What is the current vaccination rate of faculty and staff?” They care because vaccines are one of the most important tools for ending the pandemic, which has killed nearly 600,000 people in the United States. As COVID-19 vaccination rates have risen, COVID-19 cases — and deaths — have plummeted.
As of June 21, the vaccination rate for University staff was 25.6% and, for faculty, 29.9%. Based on metrics at the state and county level, the actual numbers are probably higher. But there’s no way to know until everyone who has received a vaccine self-reports with the University’s Environment, Health and Safety office.
By comparison, 42% of North Carolinians and 45.2% of all Americans are fully vaccinated.
Why is registering your vaccination important?
In a word, planning.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which records who has been vaccinated for COVID-19, has been able to loosen its requirements for mask wearing and physical distancing based on its knowledge of how many residents have been fully vaccinated.
But since the COVID-19 vaccination is not required for state employees, the University cannot access that information to find out how many of its employees have been vaccinated. Vaccination rates are a key metric for University decision-making. That’s why it’s so important that employees let the University know they have been vaccinated.
EHS does not report specific individual data to anyone and also does not provide percentages at the department or unit level. The only numbers that are shared are overall percentages for all of campus.
So why are Carolina staff and faculty getting vaccinated? Here are some reasons: