Kristina M. Johnson, the university’s president, announced the measure, citing a recent surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant to justify the move.
“Central, southern, and southeastern Ohio have now recorded the highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients since January,” Johnson stated. “Further, the number of hospitalized patients in these areas of the state rose an alarming 448 percent between mid-July and mid-August.”
All students, faculty, and staff must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 15 and the second dose by Nov. 15, Johnson said.
Students who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, by spring next year, will be barred from participating in events on campus, including classes. Staff and faculty who fail to adhere to the mandate will face disciplinary action.
The mandate was announced one day after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reportedly gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The other two vaccines available in the United States, from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are currently operating under emergency use authorization.
“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,” Johnson said in a statement.
The decision comes as a growing number of schools and employers are mandating vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an Aug. 6 update that new data on the Delta variant show that no vaccine is 100 percent effective, as fully vaccinated people are still capable of spreading the virus to others, although vaccinated people “appear to be infectious for a shorter period.”
The agency noted that breakthrough infection with the Delta variant “seems to produce the same high amount of virus in both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people,” bringing into question whether vaccine mandates are justifiable given the implications concerning their infringement on individual liberties.
Representatives for the CDC didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment by press time.