Becoming the 15th state to do so, Ohio implemented legislation outlawing officials from mandating vaccines or vaccine passports in public educational institutions.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed H.B. 244 on Thursday banning any public school or college from requiring students to get a non-FDA-approved vaccine, such as the COVID-19 vaccine, and also banning the use of vaccine passports.
Although many other states have recently signed similar legislation, the Ohio bill adds an important distinction.
An amendment to the bill states that schools will also be barred from discriminating “against an individual who has not received the vaccine, including by requiring the individual to engage in or refrain from engaging in activities or precautions that differ” from students who have received the vaccine, the Washington Examiner reported.
Despite the new rules, the bill does not prevent the Ohio Department of Health from demanding students be quarantined if they believe it’s necessary.
As the rule only applies to non-FDA-approved vaccines, a spokesman for the governor said he is confident that the COVID-19 vaccines will be approved soon, a Cleveland news outlet reported.
“We believe it will be moot in the very near future,” said Dan Tierney, regarding Thursday’s legislation.
Because most universities in the state are not requiring vaccines, Cleveland State University will be the only one affected as it is requiring all students living on campus to be vaccinated.
However, a spokesperson for the university had indicated they will comply with the law.
Ohio is joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, all of which have also implemented anti-vaccine mandate precautions.