University of Venda implements mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy

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The University of Venda in Thohoyandou Limpopo has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for students and staff.

University Spokesperson Takalani Dzaga says the policy will be effective from January 1, 2022.

The decision was taken during a council meeting on Friday last week.

Dzaga says no one will be allowed to enter campus if they are not vaccinated.

“The University of Venda Council decided that everyone accessing the university campus will be required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination so this means that no one will be allowed access to the university of Venda campus without being vaccinated. The decision has been taken in the best interest of stakeholders with different views about COVID-19 vaccination. So the mandatory vaccination is necessary to ensure that all members of the university community and all other stakeholders accessing the campus feel safe.”

In the tweet below, Univen’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy: 

Dzaga has encouraged university staff and students to visit their health clinic on campus for vaccination.

“So the university management is committed to implementing this policy in a manner that will not alienate staff and students and other members of the public. We continue to encourage staff and students and other stakeholders to vaccinate. So staff and students are therefore encouraged to visit the University of Venda health clinic for vaccination.”

Opposition to mandatory vaccinations 

Various groups and stakeholders have come out in strong opposition to such a policy.

In October, the Wits SRC came out strongly in opposition to the idea of mandatory vaccination. The SRC said compelling people to vaccinate goes against people’s right to choose, as enshrined in the Constitution.

The 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. 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.

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

The Higher Health says each institution will have to look at its structure before making the decision.

Meanwhile, Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape has also implemented a mandatory vaccination policy from 2022.

Four universities in the Western Cape have also implemented a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

They include the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, who have all signed bilateral agreements with the provincial Department of Health.

Students oppose mandatory vaccines:

Ethics in higher education 

Meanwhile, amid concerns that COVID-19 vaccinations in South Africa are not going according to the set targets, the Higher Education and Training Sector is once again calling on students to get vaccinated.

CEO of Higher Health, Professor Ramneek Ahluwalia, outlines the approach that institutions of higher education could employ to encourage and get more learners to vaccinate: