Cuyahoga County Officials Oppose State "Vaccine Choice" Proposal

Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan opposes a proposal from state lawmakers, which would prevent employers from requiring or asking about vaccinations. [Cuyahoga County / YouTube]
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan opposes a proposal from state lawmakers, which would prevent employers from requiring or asking about vaccinations. [Cuyahoga County / YouTube]

A proposed state law that would limit employer's ability to mandate vaccines for their staff was denounced by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Health Commissioner Terry Allan.

If passed in its current form, HB 248 would prohibit employers from requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine. It would also prevent employers from asking about vaccine status.

“If enacted, it really would negate the advancements of science and take public health back many decades,” Allan said.

The vaccine choice proposal would also limit the county’s ability to act locally and take away control from businesses, Budish said

“That’s why the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, in opposing this bill, said businesses don’t need to be micro-managed by the government telling them how to best run their business,” he said.

Cuyahoga County employees are not required to get the vaccine, but Budish said county leaders are considering a vaccine mandate.

For now, the county is making clinics available during the workday to make it as easy as possible for county employees to get the vaccine.

Budish also advocated for County Council to implement a $100 incentive for employees who get the vaccine.

The bill introduced by state lawmakers would also require schools to notify parents in writing that students can be exempted from vaccines.

This would discourage parents from getting their kids any vaccines and allow viruses like measles, tetanus, polio, and whooping cough to spread quickly, Allan said.

“This decision would put all children at risk in school, increase the spread of these well-controlled infectious diseases, stifle the educational trajectory of kids, and start new chains of preventable disease transmission,” he said.

Allan is especially concerned about children who are too young to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Cuyahoga County Board of Health data, COVID-19 case numbers are rising again. The average daily case rate is higher now than in July 2020.

Cuyahoga County has a high rate of COVID-19 transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At last check, Allan said the data showed 111 cases per 100,000 residents.

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