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The Conversation

UH Mānoa: About 97% of Students Living in Residence Halls Are Vaccinated

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University of Hawaiʻi News
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Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine received full approval Monday from the Food and Drug Administration, though the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa says most of its students are already vaccinated.

With thousands of students moving into dorms and returning to classes, The Conversation asked UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno how the vaccine news might affect the university community.

"To the extent that what is happening out in the community affects our work here, I'm hoping it has a very positive impact in the sense of encouraging many more people to get vaccinated," he said.

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University of Hawaiʻi News
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University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno

"Here on campus, all of our surveys and a variety of other data sources indicate that we are well over 90% vaccinated on the part of both our students and our employees. So our campuses are among the safest places to be, I believe, in the state," he added.

According to the school's health and wellness team, around 97% of students living in residence halls are vaccinated, and the remaining students who have exemptions are required to undergo weekly testing, Bruno said.

Bruno said he was pleased with the turnout at a university vaccine clinic last week.

"A number of our international students arrive with either one shot or no shot, and they need to be in quarantine when they arrive. So for many of them, this was their first chance to get vaccinated and they all showed up. So that was very heartening," he said.

This year, UH Mānoa is reporting its largest incoming freshman class since the school was founded in 1907, Bruno told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

"We have the classrooms. We have the ability obviously online, and the additional capacity that online learning offers us is really a strong tool for us to take care of these additional students," he said.

It's not just Hawaiʻi residents wanting to stay close to home, Bruno said nonresident first-year enrollment is up 60% and international students are up 110%.

"It's such a strong message on how we're doing and how the reputation of the university has continued to rise — because this is not at all a national trend. We are totally bucking the national trend," Bruno said.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 23, 2021.

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