More than 60 percent of University of Maryland community members coming to the campus have reported receiving at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to information provided by a university spokesperson Monday.
In addition, more than two-thirds of faculty and staff coming to the campus have reported being at least partially vaccinated as of Friday, according to the information from the spokesperson. In total, about 13,000 community members have reported receiving a dose of a vaccine.
“That’s actually based on faculty, staff and students volunteering that they’ve been vaccinated,” university President Darryll Pines said in an interview with The Diamondback Monday. “Who knows how many more people have been vaccinated, and they just don’t want to volunteer that information.”
Community members can disclose if they have received a vaccine on the daily symptom monitoring portal.
Pines added this level of vaccination could be contributing to the low positivity rate on the university’s campus. From April 11 to April 17, the university’s testing program yielded a 0.2 percent positivity rate.
Earlier this month, the university opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all community members at the Riggs Alumni Center. The university initially received 1,170 doses of the Pfizer vaccine before receiving an additional supply of vaccines.
There are also ongoing discussions about whether to make vaccines mandatory.
On Friday, the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents gave the chancellor authority to determine a mandatory vaccine policy.
The state’s attorney general’s office has also released a letter, referring to legal cases that Pines said “provide sufficient ground for mandatory vaccinations,” but he added the precedents in the letter are “not as strong as we would like [them] to be.”
Individual university presidents could decide on their own to mandate vaccines on their campuses, using guidance from the attorney general’s office outlined in the letter, Pines said. But he emphasized he wants to see consistency across the system.
“We want to be consistent with all of our USM peers,” Pines said. “So this is why we asked the chancellor to take the leadership to render a decision, and then we would agree with it.”