Ohio Anti-Vaccine Mandate Legislation Update
After conducting two hearings on House Bill 218, the latest anti-vaccine mandate legislation continues to gain momentum in the Ohio Legislature, the Ohio Senate declined to schedule any further hearings on the bill this week, stalling its progress with the holidays fast approaching.
The Ohio House has recessed until the New Year, and the Senate is expected to conclude its business for the 2021 calendar year this week.
OSMA last updated members on HB 218 when it passed in the House in November. Since that point, your OSMA advocacy team has continued to help lead the coalition against the bill, which is comprised of over 100 organizations in business, manufacturing, education and health care, representing over a million Ohioans.
OSMA also rallied a massive grassroots effort across the state to communicate to legislators about the dangers posed by proposals that discourage community vaccination rates. In response to our recent call-to-action, over 650 of our members and allies all over Ohio have sent messages to their elected officials in the Ohio Senate, urging them to reject HB 218.
As a reminder, HB 218 contains provisions that would:
- Prohibit employers, schools, and institutions of higher education from requiring vaccines, drugs, or other products that use mRNA, DNA, or other genetic technology that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
- Broaden exemptions for vaccine requirements such that most Ohio workers and students could refuse a COVID-19 vaccine requirement with a simple written statement;
- Prohibit schools from treating unvaccinated students differently than vaccinated students, such as by requiring only unvaccinated students to wear masks or face coverings; and,
- Prohibit entities from requiring individuals to provide proof of vaccination to enter facilities or receive services (“vaccine passports”).
Although it seems this legislative debate has paused for the remainder of the year, OSMA expects this issue to return in early 2022 and will continue to be actively involved, advocating for Ohio physicians and their patients.
Stay tuned for updates in the New Year.