Mandatory Academic Vaccination? 

By Lindokuhle Frank 

Many students had to acquaint themselves with their institution’s vaccination policy when South African universities reopened. Many students wondered whether they needed to be vaccinated for Covid-19 to gain entry to their university campus. 

Some of the best universities in the country have set policies concerning vaccination. The University of Cape Town (UCT) drafted a policy back in 2021, that stated that access to campus and residences will require valid proof of vaccination with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) or a valid exemption. This policy is effective from 1 March 2022 and allows those who are against mandatory vaccination to appeal, stating valid reasons why they will not vaccinate. 

Rhodes University (RU) has made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all students and employees. To complete their online enrolment at RU, students must have their vaccination status verified or an authorised exemption. Non-vaccinated students were unable to complete registration without providing their vaccination information, and all employees, students, and visitors must present vaccination certificates to enter campus. 

Nelson Mandela University however, is one of the few institutions that have not yet implemented mandatory vaccination and a vaccination policy for their students. The University has not disclosed whether they will consider mandatory vaccination in the coming months, however, those who registered in registration venues had to present their vaccination certificate. In an interview with Daily Maverick, Zandile Mbabela, Nelson Mandela’s communication manager, commented that, “there is also presently no COVID-19 vaccination policy for the higher education sector that we are aware of.” However, the university has been strongly advocating for students, staff, and the Nelson Mandela Bay community to vaccinate, so that campus can be a safe environment for all students. 

Photo credit: Getty images

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