Call for comment on draft UCT Vaccine Mandate Policy

20 December 2021

Dear students and colleagues

Following the Council meeting held earlier this month and the feedback provided by the Chair of Council, I write to provide a further update on the proposal for mandatory vaccination at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

At the outset I want to stress that as a contact university known for its leadership and excellence, the physical presence and engagement of staff and students on campus is paramount to the success of our students and staff. We are doing whatever we can to ensure that operations at UCT – including teaching and learning, and research – return to full, on-campus functionality as much as possible while we continue responding to this global pandemic.

Following Council’s in principle approval of a proposal requiring that all staff and students provide acceptable proof of having been vaccinated against COVID-19 at the preceding meeting in October, an update on the work done by the university’s Vaccine Mandate Panel (VMP) was tabled at the latest Council meeting.

Following the tabling before Council, the draft policy is now published in full and is now open to a consultation process among UCT stakeholders. This process will be completed by 31 January 2022.

Comments can be sent via email to vmp@uct.ac.za. Once all comments are received, the VMP will consider these further and a final decision on the policy will be made by the UCT Council.

I urge you to participate in the consultation process.

The draft policy proposes the introduction of a campus-wide vaccine mandate that will be applicable to all staff, students, independent contractors, Faculty of Health Sciences joint staff (working at UCT premises) and other visitors.

All events held on UCT campus or premises, buildings, or residences, regardless of the organisers, are also covered by this draft policy.

The draft policy provides for staff and students to apply for an exemption to the vaccine mandate on narrow medical grounds and on grounds of sincerely and intensely held beliefs grounded in religion and/or conscience. Applications will be adjudicated by independent panels, and applicants whose applications are rejected will have a right of appeal.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable. We are currently in the fourth wave countrywide, and UCT will continue to respond to the pandemic in alignment with government regulations. We remain hopeful that we can for the majority of 2022 have campuses that are physically fully functional and remain as open as possible.

Sincerely

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng


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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020.

UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Thank You UCT Community

Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.



If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website
 

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

The University of Cape Town in partnership with the Western Cape Government (WCG) have reinforced our commitment to bringing hope to the residents of the Mother City with the launch of the world‑class Community of Hope Vaccination Centre that opened its doors on Monday, 30 August 2021.

The site is located on Main Road in Mowbray – in the Forest Hill Residence – and access is from Broad Street. The site is open every Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 and on Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00. Please allow time for attending to COVID-19 protocols and arrive as early as possible at the vaccination centre.



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UCT statements related to COVID-19 vaccinations

This is a space created for all formal bodies and structures within the university community to share their opinions on the need for a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. Please note that some editorial judgement may be applied if the received statements go against any constitutional rights, and that no correspondence will be entered into, statements will be posted unedited and as received. Statements can be sent to opinions@uct.ac.za.


 

Commemorating a year of COVID-19

At midnight on 26 March 2020, South Africa went into the first nationwide hard lockdown. A year later, we remember those who have died and those who have been affected by COVID-19, as well as the pandemic’s effects across society and campus. We are especially grateful for the front-line health workers who have done so much for so many.

#UCTCOVIDPledge – social media elements


Customised Facebook frames and Instagram stickers are now available on those social media platforms. Watch the tutorial videos here to see how easily you can show your support for the #UCTCOVIDPledge.

 
 

In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”

 

We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.

 

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