New research suggests that university students believe that the return to campuses, in-person teaching, and socialising shouldn't happen until they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but uptake of the vaccine is still likely to be lowest among black students.
In researched commissioned by the University of East London (UEL) from Savanta ComRes, 60 per cent of students said they should only be able to return to in-person teaching - and 55 per cent supporting the idea that they should only be able to return to shared accommodation - once they are fully vaccinated, with 22 per cent and 28 per cent respectively, opposing this. A majority (57 per cent ) also believed they should only be able to meet with others socially, (vs 24 per cent opposing) once they had been fully vaccinated.
However, while overall 70 per cent of students indicated they would be very likely to get the vaccine, definitely would or have already had it - just 13 per cent saying they definitely won't or are not very likely to get it - that figure drops to 59 per cent in the London region, significantly below other UK regions. Black students were the least likely ethnic group to want to get the vaccine, with just 44 per cent indicating they would take it and 29 per cent saying they definitely wouldn't or that it was not very likely.
A clear majority of students (70 per cent ) agree that getting the population vaccinated is the only way we can return to life as we know it, and a majority of students (59 per cent ) also believed that universities should help with the vaccine roll-out for students and the wider community. Just 5 per cent said that universities shouldn't help with vaccine roll-out and 32 per cent said they should only help with the vaccination of their students.
Some 43 per cent of students said they were more likely to get the Covid-19 vaccine if they were invited to do at their university campus, but 51 per cent said it would make no difference. Half of students polled (50 per cent) agreed that once priority groups in the UK have been vaccinated, those in poorer countries should have access to the vaccine before young and healthy people in the UK, but 22 per cent disagreed with this.
There are still concerns about the vaccine, with 16 per cent believing it is unsafe (the majority 61 per cent disagree with this) and some 40 per cent worried about the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Mental health continues to be an issue for students, with 61 per cent saying it had got worse during the recent Covid-19 lockdowns (21 per cent say it had got better and 18 per cent said no change). Physical health had also declined, with 48 per cent saying it got worse during the recent lockdowns - but 25 per cent saying it had got better.
A majority of students felt that their own university had performed well in the handling of the pandemic (55 per cent vs 20 per cent who feel it has performed badly) and 81 per cent of students also believed that the NHS had performed well.
Importance of campus return