80.7% of Cambridge students will continue to wear face masks

Just over a month on from the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, we surveyed students for their thoughts towards mask-wearing and getting vaccinated

In an effort to paint a picture of what Cambridge may look like as students return in October, we distributed an anonymous questionnaire on The Tab Instagram, with 114 responses.

We found that 92 of them will continue to wear masks in enclosed spaces despite it no longer being a legal requirement as of July 19th.

Investigating vaccine uptake as well as willingness to wear masks, we found that 90.4% of students have had one, or both of their vaccines, with only 4 respondents out of the 114 stating they are not planning to get vaccinated.

Mask wearing

Out of the 114 students surveyed, 19.3%, 22 people, said they will no longer wear a mask in enclosed environments (such as public transport, shops, and libraries) now that it is no longer legal.

Those that expressed their preference to stop wearing masks cited reasons such as: “I find them extremely uncomfortable, and now I do not think that they are essential” and “Need to get back to normality. Need herd immunity.”

Another respondee stated they won’t continue to wear masks “Because the only ones at risk of dying are people who chose not to get vaccinated. I should not have to suffer, however slightly, for them.”

Many students explained that their choice not to wear masks was a result of previously having COVID, or being double vaccinated.

Meanwhile, others took a more middle-ground approach, saying they’ll wear masks sometimes if “a location is clearly crowded,” or “as a matter of courtesy if others are wearing masks and seem uncomfortable.”

Students who were in favour of continuing to wear masks said they would do so to “reduce transmission,” because “it is not exactly arduous and protects other people,” and “it’s respectful to the general public, you don’t know who is scared of covid/ very vulnerable.”

These findings come as COVID cases have seen a slight decline in Cambridge Centre, from 55 in the week beginning August 2nd, to 46 last week beginning August 9th.

Cases across Cambridgeshire, in general, have witnessed an increase as Cambridgeshire Live reports “Addenbrooke’s had 43 patients on its Covid wards on Tuesday (August 17), with nine of them on ventilation. It is witnessing daily admissions – typically four to seven a day.”

Vaccine uptake

At the time of questioning, 103 students out of 114 had received their first, or both, doses of the vaccine. Of the 11 students who had not yet been vaccinated, 4 said they were not planning to get vaccinated.

Students who had gotten one or two doses of the vaccine cited wanting to keep “myself and others” safe, and “for life to go back to normality.”

Others who had not yet had a dose of the vaccine, but were planning to, commented that they “trust science and experts,” and believe the vaccine is will allow them not to be “scared” of “going back to uni/going outside.”

Conversely, other students expressed their desire to not get the vaccine unless “we’re coerced into having it,” with one student explaining they “feel apprehensive about the vaccine” due to the speed at which it has been developed, adding “besides they are still conducting real-world studies to determine vaccine’s long term efficacy.”

This news is in light of Central Cambridge being the worst area for vaccine uptake in Cambridgeshire. Uptake of the second vaccine sat at only 33% in Central and West Cambridge as of last week (week beginning 16th).

Information on where to get your vaccine is available on the NHS vaccinations website, and details of walk-in clinics in Cambridgeshire can be found here.

Feature image credits: Matilda Head and Inika Murkumbi