The Ohio legislature passed a ban mandating a coronavirus vaccine as a condition to attend a college or university in the fall.
Shortly before breaking for a summer recess, legislators passed an amendment to a bill that would prohibit public schools and universities from requiring students to obtain a vaccine “available under emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” WKYC reported. That includes all three coronavirus vaccines.
A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine (R) indicated he would veto a similar bill. This bill exempts public hospitals, as well as private schools and universities.
“This is about personal rights, and it’s also about making sure our students are protected,” amendment sponsor, state Sen. Andrew Brenner (R) said during debate.
“I think there is a concern that there might be a movement toward requiring vaccination when it’s not really clear that that is necessary in order for those age groups to prevent the spread of disease,” House Speaker Bob Cupp (R) told reporters.
Senate President Matt Huffman (R) said he had heard “At least one large, urban district indicated that all students will be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine” and the intent of the legislation was to prevent a “hodgepodge” of different rules based on district or school.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, some schools are already moving that direction:
The vote came hours before Cincinnati Public Schools discussed a policy requiring staff members to get vaccinated before the fall. Cleveland State University will require students living in residence halls this fall to have been vaccinated, with exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
Most of Ohio’s public universities have said they won’t require the COVID-19 vaccine, even though they have required other vaccinations for years.
Last week, the Ohio House passed a ban on public and private employers from requiring a vaccination. The Senate did not take up that measure.
In Michigan, Henry Ford Health Systems mandated a coronavirus vaccine for all employees, a move that would be blocked by legislation still under consideration.
The requirement will take effect September 10, and “will apply to all workers, students, volunteers, and contractors,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
In May, a package of six bills was introduced in the Michigan legislature and to date, only one — that bans state and local agencies from developing vaccine passports — has been passed. Two bills languishing in the legislature would ban private sector companies from requiring vaccines as a condition to do business.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) spokesman, Bobby Leddy, lashed out at Republicans after that lone bill made it through the House.
“Instead of working with us to promote these life-saving vaccines, Republicans are wasting time holding meetings with out-of-state conspiracy theorists and banning things that don’t exist,” he told the Detroit News.