As South Africa prepares to embrace the new normal and the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, making the jab mandatory has become a topic of contention.
The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) council has approved in-principle to adopt a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy. The policy will require both staff and students to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
In a statement, the university explains that staff would need (as a condition of being able to perform their duties) and students (as a condition of registration) to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
The institution's vice-chancellor, Mamokgethi Phakeng says, there were many different views expressed before the decision was made. She said, “we will go ahead but what we did is we took all those other contrasting views and the panel will be considering them as they work on how to operationalize this decision”.
She says that the panel will be made up of legal experts, health experts, experts in ethics as well as vaccinologists. The committee will also decide when exemption may be granted to staff or students.
“We have robust scientific evidence that vaccination is the one highly effective method of preventing severe Covid-19, both illnesses and Covid-19 related deaths. So that's why we are going that route, we do not want to endanger our students' lives. We're taking this precaution and it's because we care about the health and well-being of our students and staff” concluded the Vice Chancellor.
In order to make it easier for students to get their jab, UCT will set up a vaccination site on campus. The UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre will be at Forest Hill Residence, with access from Broad Street. The vaccination site is open to staff, students and members of the public from 08:00 to 15:00 on Monday to Friday.