University of Cape Town. Picture: MOEKETSI MOTICOE
University of Cape Town. Picture: MOEKETSI MOTICOE

Plans to introduce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination among staff and students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are one step closer after a resounding vote by the university’s senate.     

On Wednesday afternoon, the senate voted on a proposed policy to make vaccines mandatory from next year. Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, the scientist who brought the motion before the senate, said getting people vaccinated was key to getting students back on campus.

“Virtual teaching doesn’t work for everyone and, sadly, the students who are worst affected are those who already are disadvantaged. They don’t have easy alternatives such as quiet spaces, access to internet and library opportunities.

“Getting us all back [on campus] and working will assist productivity and get us back to near normal again. Vaccines are our passport to that,” she said.

University spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the final decision lay with the university’s council, which will meet in October. He said senate members voted via an electronic ballot on “this complex matter”, with 83% supporting mandatory vaccination. 

The next step would include engagement across the campus with “all the relevant stakeholders whose voices are key in this process”.

“UCT emphasises that no decision or position has been taken yet by the university on mandatory vaccination on campus. Any final decision will have to be a decision of the university council.”

Moholola said the university would provide updates on the matter and would continue to encourage students and staff to get vaccinated.

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