Covid-19: No pupil will be forced to take vaccine, says basic education dept

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No pupil will be forced to take a Covid-19 vaccine.
No pupil will be forced to take a Covid-19 vaccine.
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  • AfriForum received confirmation from DBE that no learner will be forced to vaccinate against Covid-19.
  • The letter, seen by News24, says learners will still be able to reserve their right to refuse treatment.
  • DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga confirmed the letter.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) confirmed to lobby group AfriForum that no learner will be forced to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

AfriForum had written to DBE to seek clarity on a media statement, which said that parents and guardians of learners must register as part of the Department of Health's planned vaccination programme.  

"AfriForum welcomes the department's reaction, seeing as we still maintain the point of view that it is every person's choice if he/she or his/her children wants to receive the vaccine.

"We will continue to fulfill our role as civil rights watchdog by ensuring that the government will, in no way, attempt to enforce compelled vaccination," AfriForum's Natasha Venter said in a statement.

READ | Will children be denied admission to public school if not fully immunised?

News24 has seen a letter from the basic education department's spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, addressed to AfriForum's Venter.

The letter stated that the registration referred to in the media release is that of the Department of Health for Covid-19 vaccination, and that all vaccinations are voluntary.

"Registration is also important to determine the level of demand and inform the planning and resource allocation, but also to track coverage as part of monitoring and reporting currently being managed by the Department of Health," he said.

READ | Covid-19: Move to stricter lockdown, experts warn, as third wave looms

The department further clarified that the vaccination would be made available to all learners as their right to healthcare and that health education will be undertaken ahead of the vaccination rollout to support learners and their families in making informed choices about their health and well-being.

"Learners will still reserve their right to refuse treatment. No one will be forced to take the vaccine," the letter said.

Mhlanga told News24 on Thursday the statement was clear and that registration did not mean that they would be forced to vaccinate.

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