Wits Covid19 Vaccine Mandate Established Without SRC Approval, Students Clap Back at University

Wits Covid19 Vaccine Mandate Established Without SRC Approval, Students Clap Back at University

  • The University of the Witwatersrand's Student Representative Council has responded to the university's vaccine mandate announcement
  • Under the mandate, which will come into effect at the start of the 2022 academic year, no unvaccinated people may access the campus
  • The SRC believes that instead of adopting a mandatory vaccination policy, the university should encourage its students to get vaccinated through educational campaigns

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JOHANNESBURG - The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) has clapped back at university management for deciding to implement a vaccine mandate for its campus without consulting the council.

The SRC has expressed its concern about potential divisions between vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students, as unvaccinated persons will not be granted access to the campus or any events held there.

TimesLIVE reports that the South African Human Rights Commission announced that compulsory vaccination policies do not infringe on human rights and under the correct circumstances can be in line with the constitution.

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No unvaccinated people at indoor events, says Professor Abdool Karim, vaccine likely to protect against Omicron

Wits, COVID-19, vaccine, SRC, vaccine mandate, compulsory vaccination, Covid-19 vaccine
Wits' SRC is upset that university management did not include them in the decision to institute a vaccine mandate on campus. Image: Papi Morake/Gallo Images via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The debate between mandates and freedom of choice

The SA Human Rights Commission and the Wits SRC agree that before vaccine mandates are instituted, organisations and institutions should promote voluntary vaccination through educational campaigns.

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"Let us encourage vaccination rather than coercing students into vaccination which will most likely result in people becoming more entrenched in their opposition,” the SRC said.

According to News24, the University of the Free State (UFS) is also adopting a vaccine mandate for the next academic year. UFS said that no staff member or student will be forced to vaccinate.

Reactions to SRC exclusion in vaccine mandate decision

@ProfBrosig from Wits believes:

"I guess with more infectious variants mandatory vaccination should be combined with a strict testing regime."

Read also

"I'm joining AfriForum": South Africans back AfriForum stance against mandatory vaccination

@chrisfvz said:

"If you don't want to vaccinate, self isolate at home until the pandemic is over. It's your choice. You can further your education with Google."

@JohnCPT1 shared:

"Lol and after 6 months the vaccine won't be valid anymore. Just like it is in Europe now. Do not submit to forced medical procedures."

@GodPenuel said:

"Dankie SRC."

Unvaccinated people more likely to be hospitalised due to Omicron

Earlier Briefly News reported that Dr Waasila Jassat from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) briefed the Department of Health yesterday (29 November). During this briefing, she said that most patients hospitalised due to the Omicron variant are unvaccinated.

The variant has so far presented itself as highly transmissible, but vaccinated people have reported milder symptoms than those who are not.

Dr Michelle Groome, the NICD's public health surveillance head, reports that new cases amount to just below 2 000 daily with 80% of cases being reported in Gauteng, particularly in younger people.

Source: Briefly News

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