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Coronavirus

Ohio Lawmakers Debate Basis For Wide-Ranging COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Exemptions

Ohio State University clinic manager Paige Blankenship, left, administers one of the first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Osvaldo Campanella Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete
/
Associated Press
Ohio State University clinic manager Paige Blankenship, left, administers one of the first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Osvaldo Campanella Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.

Ohio lawmakers are holding hearings on a bill that would make it easier for someone to be exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Part of that debate is over who is asking for the law in the first place.

Opponents of the bill argue that, with 65% of eligible Ohioans vaccinated, a bill to create exemptions would be to satisfy what they call a "vocal minority," some of whom have shared misinformation on this and other bills.

The exemptions are for people who have an existing condition to which the vaccine would be harmful, antibodies, religious reasons and reasons of consciousness.

Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk), who chairs the House Labor and Commerce Committee holding the hearings, said he still thinks exemptions are important to consider.

"A lot of us agree that the vaccine works. It has a more positive than certainly a negative but at the same time there are those out there that see it in a different light and do they have an opinion that needs to be honored," he said.

Republican leadership is hoping to pass a bill with consensus in the caucus, however they're expecting a lot of amendments that could be proposed.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.