USAf: Higher education institutions can't force students to be vaccinated

Universities South Africa (USAf) CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said that while vaccinating the university community could ensure that the academic programme was not disrupted, making the jab mandatory could further fuel vaccine hesitancy.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - As the debate about mandatory vaccination policies intensifies, Universities South Africa (USAf) said higher education institutions could not force people to be vaccinated.

This week, the University of the Free State announced that it wanted all its staff and students to be vaccinated and provide vaccination certificates from 1 February next year.

The University of Cape Town has been mulling over the proposed policy. The certificates will be needed to gain access to the institution's three campuses.

USAf CEO, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said that while vaccinating the university community could ensure that the academic programme was not disrupted, making the jab mandatory could further fuel vaccine hesitancy.

“Universities are desperate to get the students back. The question is: what's the safest way to do that? And of course, universities have to abide but that requires them to ensure that they’re paid -they pay for the students, they pay for the staff, they pay for the visitors.”

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