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Ohio State will now require every student, faculty and staff member to be vaccinated against COVID-19 following Monday’s news that the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine.
Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson said in a letter sent to the campus community on Tuesday that central, southern, and southeastern Ohio has now recorded the highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since January, and with the rising prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant, the university is taking additional measures.
“The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19,” Johnson said. “We are focused on enhancing the health and safety of our community. This step will increase our ability to support our students in continuing their educational experiences as well as help protect our current and the state’s future workforce.”
The deadline for all Ohio State students, faculty, and staff to have at least the first dose is Oct. 15, and for individuals receiving a two-dose sequence, the second dose deadline is Nov. 15. While the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only FDA fully approved vaccine, OU said Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or World Health Organization-approved vaccines will also be accepted to meet the requirement.
The school said more than 73% of its community has had at least one shot already.
“We also stand the best chance of continuing to enjoy the traditions that we love throughout the academic year with higher vaccination rates in our campus community,” Johnson said in the letter.
Johnson said that while vaccinated individuals can still contract the virus, they are less contagious than unvaccinated individuals and “are significantly less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus.”
“Masks also continue to be an effective tool at combating the spread of COVID-19,” Johnson said. “That is why we are implementing our vaccine requirement with urgency as well as continuing our protocol to require everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.”
The full letter Johnson sent to the campus community can be read here.