TORONTO – A University of Toronto’s decision to require people living in student residences to receive at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could boost uptake of the third dose in young adults, but it does not will not result in a significant increase unless another school
TORONTO — A University of Toronto’s decision to require those living in student residences to have at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could boost uptake of the third dose among young adults, but it doesn’t. won’t lead to a significant increase unless other schools follow suit, experts say.
The University of Toronto announced last week that it was reinstating a vaccination requirement for people living in its residence halls and updating it to mandate at least one booster. He also recommended everyone else on campus stay “up to date” on COVID-19 vaccinations.
Dr. Fahad Razak, scientific director of the Ontario Science Advisory Table on COVID-19, said the policy could help boost adoption among young adults, noting the university’s large student body. and evidence of the effect of vaccine requirements.
But he said there would likely be a greater impact on adoption if other universities and colleges implemented a similar policy.
“There seems to be pretty strong evidence that when you need to be vaccinated in a certain space, more people end up getting vaccinated because of it,” he said.
“If more universities followed a similar policy, you would probably see an increase in vaccine consumption of third doses, or potentially even other doses.”
The absorption of the third dose in the 18-29 age group is currently approximately 36% nationally, which is lower than that of all other adult age groups in Canada. By comparison, about 86% of this cohort of young adults receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University Health Network in Toronto, said having post-secondary institutions “align” with vaccine policies would help boost uptake of vaccines. the third dose in young adults.
“It’s never great when only one or two do something and the others don’t,” she said. “People can choose not to go to places that have additional requirements if they feel tired of it and there are other options.”
Hota added that vaccine requirements should evolve over time as more doses become available to provide maximum protection, especially as vaccine immunity wanes over time.
“It’s really about keeping up to date with vaccinations,” she said.
“We use this language for child vaccinations and stuff like that, which is needed for schools and daycares and such. We should also start thinking about this language for COVID vaccines.”
With current variants of COVID-19 spreading, Razak and Hota said having at least three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine gives people a “better degree of protection” against COVID-19 than just two doses. Razak noted that three doses can also prevent serious illness and disruption in a person’s life.
Razak suggested vaccinations are “just part of the strategy” against COVID-19, and said universities, which often have older buildings, should invest in air filtration devices and also promote masking.
The University of Toronto Students’ Union said it supports the university’s policy of requiring three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for those moving into campus residence halls, adding that it is “deeply grateful to see the university being proactive and cautious as we enter another unpredictable fall.”
However, he stressed that “responsibility for COVID-19 mitigation in residence halls should not rest solely with students.” He asked the university to continue its sewage testing initiative, to continue to offer rapid antigen and/or PCR tests to students, to improve the ventilation of its buildings and to frequently disinfect common areas. .
The university stopped requiring proof of vaccination for those attending in-person classes on May 1. It has also gradually lifted its mask mandate in its indoor spaces, but still encourages people to wear medical masks in high-density indoor spaces when physical distancing isn’t possible. .
– with files from Maan Alhmidi.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of Meta and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press