UCT to discuss proposal for mandatory jabs
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Cape Town - The proposal for University of Cape Town (UCT) to implement a mandatory vaccination policy is expected to be discussed during a senate meeting on Friday.
This after more than 130 UCT professors and academics recently endorsed a proposal for mandatory vaccination at the university.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said it was expected that the senate would debate the complex matter fully. He said it was ordinarily the case that any final decision on a matter of policy for the university would have to be a decision of the university council.
"The view of the senate, should it support a proposal for vaccinations, and the view of representatives of staff and students, will be put to the UCT Council," said Moholola.
He said if taken forward, any decision on the proposal would ultimately be made by council as the university’s highest decision-making body. Council will consider the proposal thoroughly before coming to any decision.
Meanwhile, the Student Representative Council (SRC) conducted a survey giving students an opportunity to share their views on the matter until midday.
SRC president Declan Dyer said while they debated the matter extensively, they concluded that they could not take a position on mandatory vaccinations without ascertaining the views of the student body.
Moholola said UCT has noted the surveys being run by the SRC as well as by the employee union for professional staff.
"These too are important constituencies in the decision-making process at the university and those voices will be taken into consideration," he said.
He said as part of UCT’s commitment to have an open engagement today with staff and students, UCT would host an event under the topic, “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate”.
SA Parastatal & Tertiary Institutions Union (Saptu) general secretary advocate Ben van der Walt said the consolidated directions on occupational health and safety measures of May 28 contained a provision for employers to decide whether it required their employees to vaccinate.
Van der Walt said it then sets out the procedure to be followed, a plan is to be formulated, unions and/or representatives consulted and the like.
“However, the regulations also contain factors that must be considered, such as the right to bodily integrity, religious beliefs, and opinion.
"This leads to the real issue at hand – if and when someone can be forced to vaccinate," he said.