Covid-19: Stellenbosch University considering mandatory vaccination

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Stellenbosch University is considering mandatory vaccines.
Stellenbosch University is considering mandatory vaccines.
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  • Stellenbosch University held its third council meeting on Monday.
  • Rector and Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers confirmed the university is exploring the possibility of mandatory vaccination.
  • UCT's council is expected to make a decision soon regarding mandatory vaccination for students and staff. 

Stellenbosch University (SU) confirmed it will be looking into mandatory vaccination for students ahead of the 2022 academic year.

The university held its third council meeting on Monday.

SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers told the council it is an institutional priority for the university that all its staff and students be vaccinated against Covid-19.

"Vaccines are safe, and they save lives. Our message is that getting vaccinated is the responsible thing to do. So, we have been urging everyone to get the vaccine," he said.

De Villiers confirmed that SU is exploring the possibility of mandatory vaccination, taking from the experience of other institutions and organisations in South Africa and worldwide.

READ | Vast majority of UCT's Senate vote in favour of policy to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory

In addition, SU's Institutional Committee for Business Continuity (ICBC) appointed a task team on 27 August to conduct the risk assessment required in terms of a health and safety direction promulgated in June.

The council discussed the matter, and subsequently adopted the following motion: "The SU Council mandates management to work towards the urgent development of a rule on vaccination for students and staff for the 2022 academic year. Staff and students are reassured that due process will be followed in terms of consultation and risk management."

Council

SU chief operating officer Stan du Plessis reported to the council that 518 staff members, 2 236 students and 1 472 members of the community had received jabs at the institution since 10 August, while many others continue to make use of vaccination facilities elsewhere.

Du Plessis said:

A vaccine rule will determine the extent to which staff and students can work and study at the university, depending on their vaccination status. It will describe the expectation, as well as the criteria for exceptions.

Prior to Monday's meeting, the assumption was that the council would take a decision on the university's vaccination rule at its last meeting of the year - on 2 December.

READ | Universities mull mandatory vaccination policies

However, council chair George Steyn said because it was a matter of "life and death", it was agreed that the executive committee would be entitled to take a decision as soon as possible, to avoid any delays.

SU is the latest university to announce its consideration on mandatory vaccination.

The University of Cape Town's council is expected to make a decision soon regarding mandatory vaccination for students and staff.

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