South African Union of Students (SAUS) says universities should not compel students to vaccinate against COVID-19.

It says students must be able to choose whether they want to take the vaccine.

Several universities are considering mandatory vaccination for staff and students. A member of the union’s national executive council, Asive Dlanjwa, says no public institution should engage in a mandatory policy but rather encourage students to vaccinate.

We are encouraging that all students be vaccinated. As far as mandatory vaccines are concerned, we are saying that we do not believe a point where we should be forcing or coercing students to vaccinate on a mandatory basis. By the way, even government themselves have said that they are encouraging and persuading citizens to take up the vaccine. However, at a national level, we are at a point where we are not forcing anyone to take the vaccine. Therefore we do not believe that any public institution should be engaging in the acts of trying to coerce and force students to take up vaccines against their will.”

UCT considering mandatory vaccines

The University of Cape Town has confirmed that a proposal on mandatory vaccinations will be considered by its senate during a meeting on Friday.

The institution says it is expected that the matter will be debated fully before its council makes a final decision. Any decision on policy matters are taken by the university’s council.

UCT says it expects to have open engagements with students and staff on Thursday under the theme: “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate.”

The session will be addressed by molecular medicine expert, Professor Linda-Gail Bekker and Head of Vaccinology at Wits, Prof Shabir Madhi.

Vaccine roll out for higher education sector

In July, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande briefed the media on the COVID-19 vaccination roll out for the Post School Education and Training Sector (PSET).

Minister Nzimande’s briefing: