EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – 71% of UTEP’s 297 student-athletes are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Aug. 30, KTSM learned through an open records request.
That 71% totals 210 of the Miners’ student-athlete populations, 3% higher than the 68% (190 student-athletes) it was when KTSM first received vaccination data on Aug. 14. The rate does not include coaches, only student-athletes.
In mid-August, KTSM received the team vaccination rates for football, soccer and volleyball; at the time, 61% of the football team was fully vaccinated; 86% of the volleyball team had been fully vaccinated; and 97% of the soccer team was fully vaccinated.
KTSM requested the vaccination rate for all 14 sports at UTEP this time around, however, UTEP only provided the overall vaccination rate on Monday.
The 71% vaccination rate is now higher than the goal Director of Athletics Jim Senter had set for the department.
Senter said at a press conference on Aug. 5 that he would like the entire athletic department to see a fully vaccinated rate somewhere between 70-90 percent for its student athletes, but acknowledged that UTEP had “some work to do” to get there.
“I would prefer that we have at least herd immunity and if you ask people, ‘what’s the percentage for herd immunity?’ that even fluctuates a bit,” Senter said. “70, 75, 80, 85, 90 percent. Some of that herd immunity might be dictated by what sport you play and how close in proximity you are to other individuals as you play your sport.
“I would prefer to see a 100 percent vaccination, because I believe it will save lives and it will suppress the virus from being spread to other more vulnerable populations,” Senter continued on Aug. 5. “That’s my goal; I don’t believe we’ll be there, nor do I think we’ll get there, not just on our teams but in El Paso and in America.”
UTEP has now reached the low end of Senter’s goal for student-athlete vaccinations. As the 2021-22 athletic calendar begins to pick up, it is possible that more of UTEP’s athlete population will receive the vaccine.