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Maritime campuses encourage vaccinations as mandatory measures expand elsewhere


As more Canadian post-secondary institutions announce mandatory vaccine policies, Maritime universities are sticking with the mantra of encouragement instead of enforcement.

Campuses across the country have announced policies making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for on-campus students and staff this fall, particularly in Ontario.

Maritime-based universities are maintaining policies encouraging students to be vaccinated, stopping short of making it a requirement.

One exception is Cape Breton University, where students living in residence are required to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before moving in.

Patrick Hickey, an elected student representative on the University of New Brunswick's board of governors, says people on campus are left vulnerable if they can't get shot for medical reasons.

Hickey plans to voice his concerns to the university’s board. He says the growing list of Canadian campuses requiring vaccinations may add pressure around the region.

“But I don’t think that’s the way that it should have to happen,” says Hickey. “I think that any university should be willing to make this decision fairly easily and quickly because they know it’s the first thing that's going to help protect their students, protect their faculty and staff.”

Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. and St. Thomas University in Fredericton expect over 90 per cent of its students to be fully vaccinated by September, based on a recent self-reporting questionnaire.

"We're confident with what students have told us about vaccines," said STU associate vice-president Jeffrey Carleton on Wednesday.

“We don’t think a mandatory vaccination policy is necessary,” said Daniel Keefe, Acadia University's provost and vice-president academic on Wednesday.

Public Health authorities haven’t asked post-secondary institutions to bring in mandatory vaccination policies. Until only recently, with a surge in COVID-19 cases from the delta variant, it appeared Canadian campuses had been reluctant to enforce vaccination rules.

The first Canadian school to enforce mandatory vaccinations, Seneca College in the Greater Toronto Area, announced the rule last month. It will come into effect this September.

“This isn’t a charter issue,” Seneca College president David Agnew told CTV last week. “This isn’t a privacy issue, this is a health issue.”

“We have lots of company south of the border and its good company to be in, whether it's Harvard or MIT, or Berkeley or Yale." Top Stories

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