FDA Approval Leads To COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates In Ohio: Reporters Roundtable

Topics for The Reporters Roundtable for August 27, 2021.
Topics for The Reporters Roundtable for August 27, 2021.
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The Food and Drug Administration fully approved this week the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer.  The vaccine is the first to be moved from emergency use authorization to full approval.  As anticipated, the FDA’s decision opened the gates to an increase of vaccine mandates in Ohio.  And, just as quickly, lawmakers moved into action to try and prevent mandates of the COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccine.

MetroHealth yesterday announced it would require all employees, vendors, contract workers, volunteers, students and trainees to be vaccinated fully against COVID-19 by October 30.

In making the announcement, MetroHealth President Akram Boutros acknowledged the hospital system may lose some workers over the decision.

Private employers have been on the forefront of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine. With the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, those policies are expected to become more widespread.   But, lawmakers in Columbus want to ban vaccine mandates--not just for COVID--but all vaccines.  A broad anti-vaccination bill drew a lot of attention this week.

Vaccines are authorized for those 12 and older.  Masks along with social distancing remain the only mitigation efforts available for students---especially younger ones. The lack of a statewide mask mandate has left school districts on their own and many have chosen to recommend masks but not require them. But, in districts where COVID-19 cases are quickly rising, mask mandates are being implemented.

Deadlines are looming for the commission that will redraw legislative boundaries for the state. Under the state’s new redistricting rules, Ohio’s Redistricting Commission must release a state legislative map proposal by September 1.  There are five Republicans and two Democrats on the commission.

A second bill proposed to overhaul Ohio's election system would make cuts to early voting, limit voting by mail and eliminate ballot drop boxes. Several conservative Republican lawmakers have joined in support of the bill, House Bill 387, sponsored by Republican Bill Dean from Xenia. Ohio voted strongly for Donald Trump in 2020.  Secretary of State Frank LaRose—also a Republican—has said the election was the most secure in Ohio history. 
Afghan refugees are arriving in Cleveland after being evacuated to the United States.  The situation in Kabul is growing more precarious as the United States faces a Tuesday deadline to withdraw from the country. Two suicide bomb blasts near the airport yesterday claimed more than 70 lives including a dozen United States service members.

Thirty refugees have already arrived in Cleveland. The city is one of 19 cities listed as locations for resettlement for Afghan refugees.


Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream Public Media  
Glenn Forbes, Host/Producer, Ideastream Public Media 
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV 

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