Retired Justice of the Constitutional Court, Justice Edwin Cameron, says the law can be used to persuade those who are hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Cameron, who is the Chancellor of Stellenbosch University was speaking during an online panel discussion that the university had hosted.

The question of whether or not COVID-19 vaccines should be mandatory in South Africa was the topic of the discussion.

The decision about whether or not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has been voluntary since the vaccines became available in South Africa. However, the uptake in vaccine doses administered has been low compared to the set targets.

Cameron says the law could be used to limit access to places or events for those who are not vaccinated.

He says, “You might be barred at certain sporting events or access to your place of employment if you’re not vaccinated, so there are a combination of things that we can use and for most people we want the law to be a persuasion and an enticement in our Constitutional state, rather than a draconian Apartheid era wagging the finger at our people.”

Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at the university, Professor Keymanthri Moodley, says introducing a mandatory vaccine policy would help to boost the number of vaccine shots that are being administered.

‘Too early’

Last week, Higher Health SA says it is still too early to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for the higher education sector.

In the video below, the CEO of Higher Health SA, Ramneek Ahluwalia, says each institution will have to look at its structure before making the decision: