More South African universities announce plans for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

Calls for mandatory vaccinations across universities growing to avoid campuses from becoming COVID-19 breeding grounds.

With growing concerns that the fourth wave is around the corner, a growing list of South African universities are choosing to introduce mandatory vaccinations. As the preparatory work for the 2022 academic year gets underway, universities such as the University of the Western Cape and the University of the Free State have recently announced such policies, joining the likes of Wits University, the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University, which introduced mandatory vaccination policies a while back. Earlier today, the University of the Western Cape announced it would be introducing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for the 2022 academic year following lengthy consultations. The interim policy which be reviewed at the end of the first semester of 2022 will also allow for some exemptions.

Just yesterday, the University of the Free State’s rector and vice-chancellor Prof Francis Petersen also announced that while it won’t anyone to vaccinate, “the institution has the right to require vaccination if you want to access the institution’s premises, in order to protect our staff and students”. During the briefing, Petersen announced that the university’s council had approved a vaccination policy that is expected to be implemented as of 14 February 2022. Per the terms of the policy, access to campus will be limited to those who were vaccinated or those who had been granted exemptions. According to the vice-chancellor, the policy received overwhelming support from the university’s key internal stakeholders. The rollout of such policies is said to be receiving support from Universities South Africa, which represents 26 public institutions.