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      New study shows even college campuses with 100% vaccine rates need COVID-19 tests

      Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-19 10:46
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      OSU student Ashlyn Gerlach of Saint Henry, Ohio, receives her second dose of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a clinic at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, US, September 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

      WASHINGTON - A new study published on Monday shows testing and isolating positive cases remain important mitigation strategies for universities even with 100 percent of students vaccination rates.

      The research, conducted by Florida Atlantic University in collaboration with Duke University and the University of North Carolina, studied 5,000 simulated undergraduates to evaluate the levels of vaccine efficacy and mitigation strategies.

      The results, published in JAMA Health Forum, showed that if 100 percent people were vaccinated with 90 percent vaccine effectiveness, surveillance testing and quarantine were not associated with a substantial reduction in infections.

      However, if vaccine effectiveness was reduced to 75 percent, weekly surveillance testing was associated with a substantial reduction in the number of infections. At 50 percent vaccine effectiveness, surveillance testing and quarantine were associated with a marked reduction in the estimated number of infections, according to the results.

      At 50 to 75 percent effectiveness, surveillance testing was estimated to reduce the number of infections by as much as 93.6 percent.

      "Findings from our study suggest that surveillance testing and isolation of positive cases may remain important mitigation strategies for universities even if 100 percent of the students are vaccinated," said Francis Motta, lead author and an assistant professor of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Florida Atlantic University.

      "Relaxing mitigations will necessarily increase the number of interactions within student populations; thus, without surveillance testing, limiting infections on campus will mostly rely on the capability of vaccines to prevent infection and transmission," said Motta.

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