THE University of Johannesburg (UJ) announced on Friday its decision to institute mandatory vaccination at all its campuses and facilities from January 2022.
Their decision largely follows news of the Omicron variant – the most recently reported COVID-19 variant.
The university said it will consider religious and medical exemptions but stressed that collective rights will take precedence as per Section 36 of the Constitution.
All staff, students and postdoctoral research fellows – as well as visitors, contractors and other stakeholders – will have to show proof of partial or full vaccination before entering any campus or facility.
The UJ Council made the decision in favour of mandatory vaccinations for staff and students to be implemented from January 2022, and said:
“The vaccination policy states that staff, post-doctoral research fellows, and students will need to provide UJ with their vaccination status – first vaccination completed or fully vaccinated – before gaining access to any campus or facility. These measures also apply to ad hoc contractors, identified stakeholders and visitors.”
The university said to gain access to UJ campuses and facilities, employees, postdoctoral research fellows, and students will be required to provide their digital vaccine vaccination cards to authorized University officials to confirm their vaccination status.
Confirmation of vaccination status will be linked to the student or employee access card, ensuring access to UJ campuses and facilities.
“This outcome will ensure that the University’s staff, postdoctoral research fellows, and students have optimal access to the University’s precincts for purposes of working, learning, research, laboratory, and clinical work whilst protecting the health and safety of the University community and its stakeholders,” the university said in a statement.
“The need for optimal access to the campuses and facilities has become crucial in part because of the socioeconomic circumstances of the University’s students. Additionally, some learning programmes require in-person engagement for research and experiential learning.”
When required, employees will be allowed, within working hours, to be vaccinated, the university added.
“Where applicable, sick leave will be allowed should any side-effects associated with the vaccine be experienced,” it said.
In addition to UJ, here are the South Africa Universities that have opted for mandatory vaccination policies:
University of Cape TownUniversity of the Western CapeRhodes UniversityUniversity of the Free StateUniversity of the Witswatersrand
Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria are two of the bigger higher learning institutions in South Africa that have not adopted mandatory vaccination policies.
The 26-member body that constitutes Universities South Africa (USAf) has previously declared that vaccinations are a must.
* Inside Education