By James Muonwa
KWEKWE Polytechnic College has swiftly moved to allay false information to the effect the institution had introduced compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations for all lecturers, support staff and students scheduled to sit for their final Higher Examination Council (HEXCO) examinations this March.
A notice purportedly from the institution of higher learning this week circulated on social media, triggering panic among various concerned stakeholders.
Reads the notice; “All Kwekwe Polytechnic staff and students to be vaccinated before March/April 2021 HEXCO examination.
“Be advised that due to the risk of Covid-19 pandemic Kwekwe Polytechnic received Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. The Ministry of Health and Child Care is taking the following steps: Effective immediately vaccination programme at Kwekwe Polytechnic on the 27th of February to the 1st of March 2021, all staff and students enrolled at Kwekwe Polytechnic are to be vaccinated”
Further read the notice, “We recognise that there are staff and students that have strong views on both sides of this issue specifically on the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. However, this not an area where we can accommodate any deviation from this new protocol.”
The fake notice dated 25 February is signed off by a T. Dube, dean of students.
However, when contacted for comment by NewZimbabwe.com Friday, college vice principal Chamusingarevi Gora dismissed the letter as fake.
“Thank you for your concern sir, check our website we have posted this (a photo of purported letter bearing a watermark that reads “fake”).
The college said the fake letter had caused unnecessary anxiety among stakeholders.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya, under whose constituency the college is situated, said he had talked to Deputy Health Minister John Mangwiro who had rubbished the alleged plans to force inoculations of staff and students.
“Have just talked to Dr. Mangwiro, the de-facto Minister of Health. Institutional policy cannot override national government policy,” wrote Chikwinya in a Facebook post in apparent reference to government’s stance of free and voluntary vaccinations.
Some colleges and universities such as Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) are currently conducting examinations for final-year students, but have only gone ahead with observance of World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 prevention and containment protocols such as face masking, hand sanitising and physical distancing.