Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation banning public schools, colleges, and universities in the state from mandating students be immunized with COVID-19 vaccines.
The new law is aimed at vaccines that have yet to win full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, according to The Hill. It applies to all three vaccines now being used in the U.S. All three have been granted just emergency use authorization.
The law doesn’t take effect for 90 days and the vaccines could receive full FDA approval by then, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
''We are confident the three main COVID vaccines — the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — will receive full FDA approval,'' DeWine’s spokesperson Dan Tierney told the newspaper.
The bill was first intended to help military children in their transition to school when they move to and from the state.
And Cleveland.com reported, Cleveland State University said it will still require students living on campus to be fully vaccinated before they arrive for the new semester, despite the law.
The new state law doesn’t go into effect until Oct. 12. The university noted that means it can still require students who return to campus on Aug. 16 to be fully vaccinated.
''Over the last three semesters, our students, faculty, and staff have worked hard to keep our community safe,'' the university said in a statement. As a result, Cleveland State University achieved one of lowest infection rates among urban universities in the country.
''We continue to strongly encourage all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated. It’s the best way they can protect themselves, their family, and our community. All three of the approved vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available.''
Senate Democrat Kenny Yuko expressed disappointment in DeWine's decision to sign the bill into law, the Enquirer pointed out.
"Public schools and universities in Ohio should be able to create policies to keep their students and employees safe,'' he said. ''Vaccines are safe and effective. This is not the time to let our guard down.''
But Sen. Andrew Brenner, a Republican, said the vaccine language was important guidance for school officials, who were faced with making decisions about vaccine requirements this fall.
"Parents, in consultation with their personal doctors, have the right to make decisions about their children, especially for vaccinations that are not fully approved by the FDA," Brenner said. "This is about personal rights.''
The law doesn’t apply to private universities or hospitals connected with public universities.
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