Lawmakers weigh personal freedoms against fighting COVID-19

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)- As lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse debate whether to ban vaccine mandates in the state of Ohio, health officials are looking at how to stop the most recent surge of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations are on the rise with the state reporting more than 5,000 new cases on Thursday. At the same time, just a little over 60% of eligible Ohioans are fully vaccinated.

“We’re back into where we were last year again and it is a little disheartening at times,” said Dr. Aaron Clark, Family Medicine Physician, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

The new surge has led to some hospitals, colleges, businesses, and even cities like Chicago mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As organizations are looking to provide a safe environment and looking to continue services and operations and the safety of their employees and their communities they’re looking to that option,” John Palmer, Director of Public Affairs, Ohio Hospital Association.

There are some lawmakers at the Ohio Statehouse who believe a mandate of any vaccine infringes on a person’s freedoms. When asked about the rising coronavirus numbers, Representative Jennifer Gross, sponsor of House Bill 248 had this to say.

“Remember that COVID is deadly to one in 1,000. I have a friend right now that’s on a ventilator in the hospital, I know that COVID is real but again I had COVID and so did my family and here we are,” said Rep. Gross, (R) West Chester.

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