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DeWine Speaks Out Against Bill to Ban Vaccine Passports


Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will not support a bill that would essentially ban vaccine passports from the state of Ohio.

H.R. 248, called the “Vaccine Choice and Anti-discrimination Act,” would allow Ohioans to choose not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and would allow parents to decide whether their children should take it. It would prevent the state or businesses from discriminating against those who have not taken the vaccine.

“I certainly oppose House Bill 248,” DeWine said Thursday.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectIn his own defense, he launched into a tirade about how vaccines cured numerous deadly illnesses in the past.

He said:

I remember as a child when polio struck fear, absolute terror in parents. People altered their behavior with their children, their willingness to go to a ballgame and to go to a swimming pool in the summer. People were terrified. Polio is eradicated, and it’s not, not just polio. Before modern medicines, diseases such as measles, mumps, polio, whooping cough, were common, and caused great, great, great, great suffering and deaths for thousands of people every single year.

The bill was introduced in April by Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester).

“There are eleven and a half million people in Ohio,” she said at the time. “Many people across the state may be likely to decline vaccines like the COVID-19 vaccine for conscientious, religious, or medical reasons. Without the exemption provisions this bill provides, the notion of a vaccine passport could easily lead to a class system in Ohio where segregation and discrimination will proliferate.”

The bill, which DeWine appears poised to strike down even if it passes the Ohio House and Senate, would have prevented businesses and government entities from refusing service to unvaccinated Ohioans.

DeWine is choosing the side opposite most Republican states.

At the end of May, 23 states, mostly Republican-controlled, had some form of vaccine passport ban in place.

In perhaps the most high-profile vaccine passport ban, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill preventing businesses from requiring vaccines, setting off a showdown with the cruise ship industry, which is largely based in his state, and which has been completely shut down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more than a year.

One major cruise line, Royal Caribbean, has already said it will resume operations without requiring vaccines.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to