Writing in an op-ed for The Columbus-Dispatch, Ohio senatorial candidate J.D. Vance, the author of the best-selling Hillbilly Elegy, railed against Ohio State University’s (OSU) vaccine mandate, calling it “an invasion of medical privacy, and a complete bait-and-switch.”
Vance claimed that most students who chose to attend OSU did so because it did not initially mandate vaccines as a condition for attendance. Its decision to impose a vaccine mandate, coming after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had fully approved Pfizer’s vaccine, according to Vance, infringes on what these students had initially agreed to.
“Many people chose OSU over other schools because it didn’t mandate a vaccine. Those students and their families committed to OSU: they paid tuition, made plans, and turned down other schools. Now, having reached the point of no return, they learn that OSU has changed its policy,” he said. “Second, the policy suffers from the confused messaging so common in today’s fear-heightened environment… Third, these are new vaccines and while they’ve been proven safe in the short term, the long-term risks are impossible to know at this point. “
Vance’s anti-vaccination points continued––he ignored the fact that the vaccines have been proven to be safe (otherwise the FDA would not have allowed them to be distributed under an emergency use authorization) or that there is no discernible evidence that the vaccines have long-term effects on people, given that hundreds of millions of people have been inoculated since December 2020 with no side-effects.
Vance claimed that the “decision to not get vaccinated is often rooted in caution about long-term risks, not a rejection of science or the severity of COVID. That caution must be allowed in a free society, not stamped out through mandates” and that “society needs to respect bodily autonomy and family choice.”
Covid-19 cases in Ohio have hit a 7-month high. Governor Mike DeWine (R) has said that the way out of the pandemic is “to get more people vaccinated,” noting that “our numbers are going up and it coincides with schools going back in session.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.