Proof of vaccination against the coronavirus will now be required to register at all four major institutions of higher learning in the Western Cape.

The universities earlier announced that they would move towards mandatory vaccinations for staff and students.

The Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology signed bilateral agreements with the provincial Department of Health.

Rector and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Stellenbosch, Professor Wim de Villiers says the University plans to publish a rule on vaccinations.

“We have been doing a risk assessment and we will be publishing a vaccination rule that required students and staff to provide a proof of vaccination as a condition to register or to remain registered as a student. [Proof of vaccinations] will also cover the employment of staff members,” says De Villiers.

Some universities calling for mandatory vaccinations for students: Dr Linda Meyer

COVID-19: A need for transparency

Meanwhile, political analyst Tessa Dooms, has warned that some governments across the globe are putting their people at a higher risk of infection should they choose not to divulge new information on COVID-19 variants.

Several countries have implemented travel bans on southern African nations – following the detection of the new Omicron variant by South African scientists last week

The United Nations says the continent should not be penalised for identifying and sharing new COVID-19 health information.

Dooms says more transparency is needed worldwide to help curb the effects of the pandemic.

“The truth is that there are variants that are being discovered, particularly in the US, where those governments have not been as transparent. What we have also seen is the impact of that in the US where the [are] rolling waves. If we pretend like the variant and science don’t exist, we then keep the public in the dark or putting them at risk, but you build higher levels of mistrust. The US is a great example of where you don’t have the kinds of transparency that we are seeing here and the results are people are less aware and more at risk,” she explains.

Based on existing data, scientists expect the current vaccines to remain protective against hospitalisation caused by Omicron.

Omicron variant detected in 11 countries: Prof Salim Abdool Karim