DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — House Bill 224 is awaiting Governor Mike DeWine’s signature, which would allow public schools and universities to not require students or employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Lawmakers who support the bill say all three vaccines have yet to receive full FDA approval 

Some democratic and republican lawmakers agree, teachers, employees and older students who want to get vaccinated have every right to but whether the vaccines should be mandatory is another discussion.

“Vaccines should be a choice, even in K-12 schools right now every vaccine, not just COVID-19 vaccines, can be exempted from,” said Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg). “In order to work or to go to school, you should not be forced to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Antani believes the choice to get vaccinated should be a personal one. If HB 244 becomes law, it would only apply to the coronavirus vaccine and no other childhood vaccines required before the pandemic. Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) says if this bill passes, teachers and students could be at risk.

“We have years, decades, lots of data to help us understand that vaccines are safe. They are effective and vaccines save lives, including the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Russo.

The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians advises parents to vaccinate their child if possible. A statement on their website says to do it “for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of the community. Ohio’s immunization rates for children and adolescents are not where they need to be for all children to be protected from potentially dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases.” 

The National Education Association also released a statement:

“They believe that state legislatures should establish clear guidelines for waivers that minimize the numbers of unvaccinated students to those necessary due to documented medical conditions.”

National Education Association

The bill would not apply to public hospitals, or private schools and universities.