Students slam government over mandatory covid-19 vaccination

STUDENTS have slammed the Government over its decision to enforce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a prerequisite for accessing lectures at tertiary institutions, saying the drive is a violation of their right to education and is merely a stance to increase the number of those who have been inoculated.

This comes after the secretary of Tertiary and Higher Education Professor Fanuel Tagwira told state media that unvaccinated students should be turned away from attending lectures.

“The situation is really bad as I feel this stance is forcing people to get vaccinated against their will. The guards are only allowing those with PCR test results but those are only valid for 48 hours which is not sustainable for students like us,” says Khethelitsha Jodo who is a student at the Bulawayo United College of Education (UCE).

Jodo also said security officers were demanding vaccination cards from students daily and turning away all those without vaccination cards.

“We have no choice but to get vaccinated because soon we will be writing our exams and we cannot afford to miss lectures. I wish this issue was handled differently so that it doesn’t appear as if we are forced to receive this vaccination which comes with a lot of controversies.”

For Katherine Marewa a student at Bulawayo Polytechnic, students were only allowed to reside at the institution on condiction that they were vaccinated.

“We were told that for us to access the school residential area, we had to be vaccinated and they are not accepting those who would rather test after every two days. They know we have been missing out on studies and we are so desperate to continue so we will dance to their tune and push the numbers of those who have been vaccinated. It’s an agenda which may seem good but it’s a violation to our right to choose. We wonder why we should be forced when they claim the whole process is voluntary,” said Marewa.

Shelter Khumalo from the Lupane State University said the institution had communicated before opening that everyone would be expected to vaccinate before lectures resume.

“It seems we are stuck. We just have to get vaccinated so that the country reaches herd immunity once otherwise we won’t complete our studies. They should have conducted awareness campaigns to encourage us to be vaccinated rather than impose it on us because we will still be highly exposed to Covid considering the mode of transport we use and how the lectures are conducted,” she adds.

Another student, Andiswa Moyo from the National University of Science and Technology said imposing vaccination without addressing public transport challenges would not yield any results.

“We may be forced to get vaccinated but after lectures we use overcrowded buses and mingle with people from all over who may not be vaccinated. There should be another way to help curb the spread of the disease besides getting vaccinated,” said Moyo.

Meanwhile, Government has also announced that civil servants who prefer not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 should resign.

So far 2 873 839 people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and the Government aims to have vaccinated at least 10 million people by the end of 2021.

As at 14 September 2021, Zimbabwe had 126 817 confirmed cases, including 119 216 recoveries and 4 550 deaths.

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