UCT council adopts mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy

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UCT is considering a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policy.
UCT is considering a mandatory Covid-19 vaccine policy.
Gallo Images/Jacques Stander
  • The UCT council has in principle approved a proposal on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of campus access.
  • The council met over the weekend to deliberate the move after weeks of engagements with staff and students.
  • The policy is expected to kick in on 1 January.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) council has approved in principle a proposal to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for campus access.

The policy is expected to kick in on New Year's Day. (1 January) 

It requires that all staff (to be able to perform their duties) and students (as a condition of registration) provide acceptable proof of vaccination against Covid-19. The UCT council sat over the weekend to deliberate the move after weeks of engagements with both staff and students.

READ | Covid-19: UCT's College of Fellows supports vaccination call for face-to-face interaction

University spokesperson Elijah Moholola said: "Council resolved that the university executive should proceed to establish an appropriately constituted panel, whose task would be to develop the operational details required to implement the campus access dispensation, as referred to above, including the principles and guidelines for exemption from a requirement to provide proof of vaccination."

The UCT executive will be required to report back to council at its December 2021 meeting.

The university's student representative council (SRC) conducted a survey on the policy and received 6 354 submissions from staff and students. Around 52.1% (3 280) supported the policy, 42.2% (or 2 655) were opposed it and 5.7% (or 361) were undecided.

The SRC said in a statement: "While we recognise that the number of responses received is not nearly representative of the student community, it exceeds the historic average of responses received from students on previous SRC surveys."

The university added  most of the staff and students who completed the survey supported the policy.

In addition, the UCT senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of mandatory vaccination at their last meeting in September, with 83% of respondents in the ballot indicating support. 

SRC president Declan Dyer said: "We note the decision of Council in support of a policy of mandatory vaccination. This follows extensive SRC consultation with the student body. 23,4% of registered students were represented in submissions, and 52,1% of those who participated were in support of mandatory vaccinations. We remain concerned about the exclusionary aspects of the policy and will continue to engage the executive on this."

The proposal was brought by Professor Linda-Gail Bekker. 

Bekker told News24 it was important to get classrooms and laboratories up and running again. 

"Students have struggled through the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination is our ticket to being able to safely get as near to normal as we can. We always hope people will step forward voluntarily in the interests of their own health but it is important for full impact fir as many people to be immune protected as possible," she said. 

If you come across Covid-19 vaccination information that you do not trust, read Covid-19 vaccine myths debunked: Get the facts here. If you can't find the facts you're looking for, email us at the address mentioned in the article and we will verify the information with medical professionals.

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