Gov. Mike DeWine signs bill banning colleges, schools from requiring coronavirus vaccines – cleveland.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill Wednesday afternoon that prohibits K-12 schools and colleges from requiring the coronavirus vaccine.
House Bill 244 started as a bill to help military children transition to school when they move to and from Ohio. Then, in the flurry of the final days of June before lawmakers went on summer recess, the bill was amended to prohibit schools, universities and other public entitles from requiring vaccines that haven’t been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Currently, the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson coronavirus shots are authorized under emergency use.
Pfizer filed papers with the federal agency in May, requesting full approval and Moderna made the same request for its shot June 1, according to CNBC.
A spokesman for DeWine said shortly after the bill was signed that the governor is confident the vaccines will soon be approved.
“We believe it will be moot in the very near future,” said Dan Tierney, adding that the bill’s provisions assisting military kids are also noble and a main reason why he signed the measure.
The vaccination ban will affect Cleveland State University, which is requiring all students living in a residence hall in the summer and fall semesters to be vaccinated, unless exempt for a medical or religious reason. A university spokesman previously said that if DeWine signs the bill, the school would adjust their requirement to comply with the law.
Other public universities – including University of Toledo, Miami University, Ohio University, University of Akron and Kent State University – have announced coronavirus vaccines will not be required.
HB 244 was politically fraught for DeWine, a Republican who is seeking re-election next year. In the GOP primary, he faces challengers who are further to the right and have been critical of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying he was sacrificing personal liberties with his public health orders.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, DeWine urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give the three vaccines full authorization.
“When we talk to people and hear their vaccine hesitancy, one of the main things we hear is that they tell us it’s still labeled an emergency — it’s been approved on an emergency basis. It is past time for the FDA to take into account that hundreds of millions of people have received these vaccines, and to move (their approval status) from an emergency basis over to a regular basis,” DeWine said. “I would just plead with them to do that and it’s very, very important. Lives are frankly at stake.”
HB 244 was also amended to allow the Ohio Department of Health to quarantine or isolate for up to 48 hours people arriving in Ohio from countries with the highest level of health threat, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during an outbreak of communicable or contagious diseases. The department would have to provide the quarantined or isolated person with lodging, food, any necessary medical exam, testing and treatment during the period.
Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff commented on the bill during a virtual news conference.
“We can reiterate that there is not, nor has there ever been, an intention on the part of the department to mandate vaccination,” Vanderhoff said.“ We’ve never taken the stance that people would be compelled to be vaccinated. Our message is that vaccination offers incredible benefits.”
Jeremy Pelzer and Julie Washington contributed to this story.
This content was originally published here.