State signals no plans to require COVID-19 vaccines for school –

by | Oct 21, 2022 | COVID-19

COLUMBUS, Ohio–Diverging from a panel of federal experts, state officials signaled Friday they will not include the COVID-19 vaccine on a list of required immunizations to enroll in Ohio public schools.An advisory committee on immunization practices for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday voted to approve adding COVID-19 vaccines to the agency’s recommended vaccination schedules.However, Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, a physician and leading voice of the state’s pandemic response, released a statement Friday affirming that Ohio’s required vaccinations for school enrollment are set by state law – not CDC recommendation.Vanderhoff’s statement took no position on how lawmakers should handle the issue. Republican state lawmakers throughout the pandemic have expressed hostility toward coronavirus vaccinations as well as vaccine mandates from schools, employers, or the government.“The COVID-19 vaccine is not part of Ohio’s childhood vaccination requirements, and I am not in favor of adding it,” said Senate President Matt Huffman, a Lima Republican, on Friday. “The Ohio Senate has no intention of making a change to the law.”Posting on social media on Friday, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted offered a similarly frosty take.“The CDC can make a recommendation if they want, but they can’t tell Ohio schools to require a COVID vaccine,” he said. “The General Assembly makes Ohio law, and we have no COVID vaccine requirement in our state. Period.”As it stands, Ohio has comparatively weak vaccination laws. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ohio is one of 15 states that allows for nonmedical exemptions to school immunizations.Last November, Ohio House Republicans passed legislation that would effectively prohibit schools, colleges, and employers from requiring vaccination as a term of employment or enrollment. The bill would also extend legal immunity for people and businesses accused of negligently allowing COVID-19 …

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