Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng
Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Higher health says no mandatory vaccination policy decisions has been made in higher education

By Harvest Thwala Time of article published Dec 9, 2021

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Professor Ramneek Ahlulwalia, CEO of Higher health said that there has been no mandatory vaccine decision made in the education sector.

“For now, there is a consensus on the importance of vaccination, and once we have the consensus among the majority of the population together, including the leadership, then there is a question on how do we proceed with that, so we are working with them toward the vaccination promotion project. There will be a time where we will hit a deadlock and say, what we do at the moment and that will be the time where we will collectively make the decision as a sector on mandatory vaccination. currently, the sector has not made a decision on anything called mandatory vaccination,” he said.

Since last week, there have been growing calls for mandatory vaccination policy for universities across the country. Students and staff at tertiary institutions are expected to be at loggerheads at the start of the academic year. This comes after many institutions have announced their approval of mandatory vaccination policy which will require staff and students to produce proof of vaccination before returning to class.

Prof Ahlulwalia said that should some students refuse to get vaccinated due to medical reasons or any other reasons, most of the universities would be looking into a phased approach of vaccination, and this is where the consultations come in.

“We are doing dynamos amounts of consultations at this moment at every level, right from parents, governing bodies, student bodies to teacher unions, academic unions and the universities management. in the structure of a high vulnerability population it’s going to go to early mandatory vaccination,” he said.

According to an online news website, Student Union of South Africa (Saus) warns that mandatory vaccination policies could lead to protests in the beginning of the academic year.

"But how universities are doing it, already a number of institutions, through their councils, through their senate meetings, have resolved on mandatory vaccines. And students, when they leave those meetings, they feel excluded because they are not thoroughly engaged. And that is going to lead to some violent protests because we are going to have a situation where students are protesting, and university management wants to proceed with registration because they don't want to lose academic time," said Saus president, Yandisa Ndzoyiya.

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