The University of Venda (Univen) will become the first higher education institution in Limpopo to implement a mandatory vaccination policy in 2022.
University spokesperson Takalani Dzaga said the decision was taken by the institution’s council at a meeting last Friday.
Dzaga emphasised that students who had no vaccination certificates by January 1 should not bother to go to campus.
“At its meeting held on December 3, the University of Venda council resolved to implement a mandatory vaccination policy effective from January 1. This implies that no one will be allowed access to the University of Venda campus without proof of being vaccinated.
“University management is committed to implement this council resolution in a manner that will not alienate staff, students or members of the public. We continue to encourage staff, students as well as other stakeholders to get vaccinated. The university’s vaccination site, operated by our campus health clinic, will continue to be available for vaccination.”
The Limpopo Department of Health welcomed the university’s decision to implement mandatory vaccination.
Department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said this was a move in the right direction. “The department believes that this decision by the university will be key in protecting the lives of both the students and personnel,” Shikwambana said.
“It will also increase access to Covid-19 vaccination and expedite the roll-out of the vaccines which are scientifically proven as a leading mitigator against severe illness and possible death due to related complications.
“The department will continue to work with and support the university to ensure it runs a seamless vaccination programme in line with its policy.”
However, not everybody is happy with the decision of higher education institutions taking that route.
Last week the South African Union of Students issued a notice opposing mandatory vaccinations by institutions of higher learning.
The union said it would be writing to those instituting these policies to engage with them on the implications it will have on students and the 2022 academic year.
Spokesperson Yandisa Ndzoyiya said: “We want to first encourage all students in all universities to take the vaccination.
“It is imperative towards ensuring that we sustain the fight against Covid-19, and that we are able to protect ourselves, fellow students, friends and families.
“However we unequivocally oppose mandatory vaccinations.
“Students and workers must be afforded their constitutional rights to determine and choose to vaccinate. We therefore must categorically denounce and condemn the decision taken by various institutions in making the vaccines mandatory.
“We believe that this move will undermine all legitimate efforts towards persuading citizens, and in particular students, to take up the vaccine. This is due to the fact that any coercing of students outside intellectual and scientific persuasion only undermines the science.”