University of Wisconsin-Madison Abraham Lincoln looks out over Bascom Hill on campus by Phil Roeder via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Less than a week before classes begin, UW-Madison reported that 90% of its campus community is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The school has reached a high vaccination rate despite UW System leadership shying away from vaccine mandates — even though other, similarly sized Big Ten universities have gone ahead with vaccine requirements.
As of Sept. 1, 88% of students were fully vaccinated and 91% had received at least one dose. The student vaccination rate is even higher among those who live in campus housing. In the dorms, 94% of students have gotten at least one dose and 92% are fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates are also high among faculty and staff — 92% of employees are fully vaccinated and 99% of faculty have received both shots.
“I’m proud of our students and employees for taking this important step to protect themselves and others. And I’m grateful to our staff, who worked tirelessly to achieve these results,” UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement. “Our high level of vaccination means that we have a robust level of protection on campus and fewer members of our community will experience severe infections caused by COVID-19, compared to areas with lower vaccination rates.”
Ahead of classes starting Sept. 8, UW-Madison is requiring people to wear masks indoors and regular testing for the unvaccinated.
Other Big Ten Schools, including Indiana University, University of Michigan and University of Illinois, have reached similar vaccination levels. But across the UW System the process is going slower. Only two other UW schools have reported their vaccination rates. This week UW-La Crosse surpassed 70% and UW-Eau Claire reported a 52% vaccination rate.
The vaccination rates on those university campuses are still higher than the statewide level for adults. Just 48% of adults ages 18-24 have been vaccinated, according to data from the state health department.
UW-Madison officials say that the high vaccination rates on campus, combined with the relatively high rates in Madison and Dane County, should go far toward protecting people this fall. 80% of Dane County adults are fully vaccinated.
On Saturday, thousands of people are expected to descend on Camp Randall stadium for the first Badger football game with fans in the crowd since 2019.
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