Leicester announces major COVID vaccination programme, as 9 out of 10 students favour jab

  • Sample study showed 93% of undergraduate students were willing to get vaccinated
  • Vaccine is not a mandatory requirement for campus study
  • Students back return to in-person teaching

The University of Leicester has announced a major COVID-19 vaccination programme, as it prepares for a full return to in person teaching on campus from September 2021.

In a small sample study run by the University this month, nine out of ten (93%) undergraduate students were willing to get vaccinated, with 64% already having had one dose by 23rd June 2021.

Experiences of infections and preventing COVID-19 spread were cited as reasons for favouring vaccinations, and students called for a University-led programme to be delivered. Only 5% of students indicated that they would not take up a COVID vaccine.

Whilst COVID-19 vaccinations remain entirely voluntary for students, the programme will be delivered through a partnership with neighbouring Victoria Park Healthcare Centre.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, said: “The pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for us all, however it is students that have been hit very hard. 

“Our top priority has been our students’ welfare and their education. We know there is a real appetite from students to return to campus in a safe manner as possible. At Leicester, we are preparing for a full return to on site teaching on campus and are taking all necessary precautions needed. 

“I am clear that vaccination very much remains a personal choice and is not mandatory; we have listened to our students’ requests for a programme and have provided the option for them.”

Rhiannon Jenkins, President of the Leicester Students’ Union, said: “Providing this programme for students, who have not only been deprived of a proper university experience for over a year, but also been ignored by the government, is a huge win. 

“The community is keen to get back to in-person teaching and knows the importance of doing that safely. 

“Rolling out a voluntary, student-focused vaccination scheme will go a massive way in getting everyone back to campus comfortably.”

The University of Leicester is preparing for a full return to in person teaching on campus from September 2021, whilst retaining the option of blended learning and teaching to adapt to future changing regulations set out by Government.

The study was conducted by the University through cross-disciplinary collaboration between Professor Christopher Bayliss, Professor in Bacterial Genetics at the University, Dr Lieve Gies, Associate Professor in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology and Dr Manish Pareek, Associate Professor the lead researcher for the UK-REACH programme.

It was funded by a Time Critical COVID-19 grant from the ESRC and the University of Leicester’s Alumni Association Committee, who through the Convocation Fund, a permanent endowment established by alumni donations, donated £5,000 towards the research.