Ohio State Mandates Covid Vaccine for Students and Employees
U.S. regulators gave full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, giving schools and companies room to require vaccinations.
Ohio State announces a vaccine mandate for students and employees.
Ohio State University students and local residents fill bars in June as Covid restrictions were lifted.Credit…Gaelen Morse/Reuters
Aug. 24, 2021, 7:03 p.m. ET
Ohio State University announced on Tuesday that all students, faculty and staff would be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 during the fall semester, becoming one of the first large state universities to issue a vaccine mandate that extends beyond students.
“The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against Covid-19,” Kristina M. Johnson, the president of the university, said in a statement on Tuesday. “This step will increase our ability to support our students in continuing their educational experiences as well as help protect our current and the state’s future work force.”
The decision from the university, which has more than 66,000 students and 30,000 employees, comes after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for those 16 and older. That’s given schools and companies room to announce similar mandates.
Louisiana State University said on Tuesday that all its students would have to either submit proof of vaccination or “be tested for Covid on a regular basis.” The University of Minnesota also issued a mandate for students to be vaccinated following the F.D.A.’s approval. And in New York, all in-person students in the state and city university systems are required to be vaccinated.
Staff, faculty and students at Ohio State University have until Oct. 15 to receive their first dose and until Nov. 15 for their second, Ms. Johnson said. More than 73 percent of the university’s community has received at least one shot, she added.
“A limited set of exemptions will be approved on a case-by-case basis,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as well as others approved by the World Health Organization, would also meet the university’s vaccine requirement.
WBNS 10 reported that hundreds of people went to the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to voice support for a Republican-backed bill that would prohibit employers from requiring workers to be vaccinated.