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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

DeWine: Ohio Schools Can Require COVID Vaccines Despite New Law

Gov DeWine speaks to reporters at John Glenn Intl Airport, Columbus, July 16, 2021 [Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau]
Gov DeWine speaks to reporters at John Glenn Intl Airport, Columbus, July 16, 2021

Earlier this week, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill prohibiting public K-12 schools and colleges from mandating students or staff get COVID-19 vaccines. At a press conference Friday, he pointed to a technicality giving schools some leeway. 

If some public colleges and school districts want to require COVID-19 vaccination at the start of the school year, they “have every right to do that,” DeWine said. 

The new law won’t go into effect for 90 days, and DeWine says, he is hoping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will give the vaccines full approval by then. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently approved for emergency use.

“We hope it will be in the fall. Frankly the sooner the better. Frankly, this is a vaccine that has been utilized by hundreds of millions of people and there’s a lot of experience with its use,” DeWine said.

The new Ohio law bans mandates of vaccines that have not received full FDA approval. Pfizer applied for full approval in May, Moderna in June.

DeWine says his administration will be providing guidance for schools on preventing the spread of the coronavirus this year, noting none of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have been approved for children under age 12. 

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