DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A new bill that aims to ban employers from requiring workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine is being considered by lawmakers in Ohio.
H.B. 435, also called the “Ohio COVID-19 Fairness Act,” aims to make it easier for people who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid getting one. The bill says public and private employers cannot require it’s employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine that has not received full federal approval.
“Though Pfizer’s vaccine has FDA approval for adults, the bill would allow exemptions for medical reasons, natural immunity defined as “presence of COVID-19 antibodies in an amount at least equal to those conferred by a COVID-19 vaccine,” and religious beliefs.
The exemptions would not apply to people who work in children’s hospitals, intensive care or critical care units or people who start a job after the bill goes into effect.
“Some people want to take away an employer’s right to dictate how people act in the workplace. Others feel like it’s that businesses prerogative like they want you to wear a suit to work,” said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a law professor at the University of Dayton.
In a statement the Ohio Vaccine Coalition which includes the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association said:
“We appreciate the leadership of the Ohio House of Representatives for their attempt to create a suitable legislative solution to the ongoing deliberations concerning vaccine requirements by employers and universities in Ohio. Unfortunately, the provisions of House Bill 435 fall short of what our state needs as we work toward pandemic recovery, and this bill does not address the concerns expressed by the medical, business, and university communities about prior proposals of a similar nature. Protection of an employer’s rights to make decisions in the best interest of their employees and those we serve cannot be overstated. Although our organizations oppose HB 435, we appreciate your consideration and look forward to continuing to work with members of the legislature on this issue.”
H.B. 435 did not get a vote on Wednesday. It was referred back to the Rules and Reference committee.