COLUMBUS (WCMH) — One day after the Ohio State University announced it would require the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, staff, and faculty, the decision is drawing mixed reactions from those who have yet to receive the shot.
Many students were flooding into the Jesse Owens North Recreation Center Wednesday morning to be tested for the virus, which is a requirement for returning to campus. Several people were also beginning the vaccination process.
“I’m a healthcare worker in Philadelphia and we’re mandated as well, so I was already planning on getting vaccinated,” said Shanye Phillips, a fourth-year OSU grad student.
Phillips explained she had been waiting to get the shot until it received full FDA approval and enough people had received it without serious side effects.
“I’m medically compromised and had a few health problems the past year, so I just didn’t want to add [the vaccine] to complicate it,” she said.
The university’s announcement about a vaccine requirement comes days after the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
Freshman Eli Masters, who had also been apprehensive about the shot until it was fully approved, said he still wasn’t in a rush to get vaccinated.
“[I won’t get the vaccine] as soon as I could but I will get it before Oct. 15, I think,” he said.
Oct. 15 is OSU’s deadline for starting the vaccination process. The two-shot series should be completed by Nov. 15. Some students said although they plan to get vaccinated, they don’t agree with a vaccine requirement.
“[The mandate] is for the general health of the public and I think the intentions should be right, but me personally, I’m not the biggest fan of it,” Masters said. “I don’t like the idea of anyone being forced to be vaccinated or any medical procedures being forced upon them.”
Some said requiring the vaccine is the right move, given rising case numbers and the rapidly spreading delta variant.
“Being as though a lot of professors are moving back to the in-person format, I think it’s safer for them to try to get everyone vaccinated,” Phillips said.
Others argued the requirement could shift their college plans altogether.
Sophomore Anyla said, “I’m not really for vaccinations and I didn’t really plan on taking it. Now that it’s mandated, I’m not really sure if I’ll be able to continue being on campus.”
She explained she’s taking other precautions to avoid contracting the virus, but worries about the unknown effects of the vaccine. The sophomore said she may pursue her degree online if OSU bars her from campus.
“It’s just something I guess they have to do to make sure that everyone is safe,” she said. “But for me personally, I just come to take my classes and get my degree at the end of the day.”
Current policies at Ohio State say unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask in all spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and take a weekly COVID-19 test. Those who are vaccinated are also required to wear a mask indoors, but only need to take one test upon arrival on campus.
The university says those who choose not to get vaccinated by the spring semester may face consequences and be excluded from campus activities and housing. It plans to release more details about the reporting process in the coming weeks.