The University of British Columbia is making some changes to the program that requires COVID-19 vaccine declarations and rapid testing.
In a message to students, UBC says “the university will no longer require regular rapid testing or vaccine declarations except as needed to comply with the relevant Public Health Orders described below. Other safety measures, including the requirement to wear masks in indoor, public spaces continue as long as required by Public Health Orders.”
UBC says it will provide free rapid testing kits to students, faculty and staff who are on campus.
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Last September, before the Omicron wave, UBC brought in the COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program. Since then, over 83,000 students, faculty and staff have declared their vaccination status.
“The evolution of the virus and the presence of the Omicron variant now indicates that a different public health and safety approach should be taken. In recent weeks, we have seen changes in public health guidance and the lifting of some Public Health Orders, as the wave of the Omicron variant, which now accounts for almost 100% of cases, is subsiding in BC,” reads the statement.
It goes on to say that, “Current scientific evidence, including BC data, indicates that COVID-19 vaccination (two doses), continues to be highly effective at preventing severe illness, but has significantly lower effectiveness at preventing transmission of the Omicron variant. Vaccine effectiveness however, after a booster dose, has been shown to be 60% effective at preventing transmission of Omicron.”
Although UBC is removing the weekly rapid testing program, the school says some members of the school community are still bound by Public Health Orders that require proof of vaccination.
That includes students in residence and students and employees who are based within health care settings.