SA Students Protest Against Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccines

South African universities have implemented mandatory covid-19 vaccines stipulated in their policies that student organisations have stood against.

One of the universities, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) released its mandatory Covid-19 vaccination-implementation protocol.

The protocol states that students who are partially vaccinated will be conditionally registered with access granted to the campuses or facilities. The controversy regarding this decision has been amongst students who resist getting vaccinated and those who see no problem with the decision and see it as beneficial.

A UJ student, Valencia Maluleka who heavily detests the decision taken by the council said that “vaccinating began as something we all had a choice in but are now being forced to take”.

“What’s more frustrating is that the President said that no one is forced to vaccinate, however our institution is mandating it yet I’m not ready to vaccinate,” Valencia expressed.

A positive response to the new protocol from another student was that although Covid-19 brought a lot of hindrances to academic activities, it also brought that experience of online learning however now that everyone is going back to campus, the new protocol will be beneficial as the institution is a  contact point for students.

Some students on social media felt that the protocol will be lenient to the staff members, however Professor Carin Runciman who is the Director of the Center of Social Change for the University of Johannesburg clarified that the protocol is mandatory for all students.

The protocol also states that students who do not plan to be vaccinated may, under exceptional circumstances, submit an application for exemption. Only medical or religious grounds will be considered. Exemptions that are approved should submit a negative Covid-19 PCR test while those who were not approved may not access the campus or facilities.

Students are given up to the 31st March 2022 to fully vaccinate.

Meanwhile, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) has joined students of the University of the Free State in picketing against the mandatory vaccination policy on the Bloemfontein campus.

Some students say they are coerced into taking the jab. Those who applied for exemption say they are still struggling to get responses and now the only way to access the university premises is by producing the proof of vaccination.

The University’s mandatory policy came into effect on Monday this week. All students are required to produce the proof of vaccination or apply to be exempted.

By Lineo Khabela for African View News

Image by News24