Ohio bill would bar hospitals from firing employees who decline vaccines

Ohio lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would forbid employers from disciplining employees who refuse to receive a vaccine, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The legislation would prohibit employers — including hospitals — from firing, demoting or otherwise punishing an employee for choosing not to get a vaccination. The Ohio Legislature has reviewed similar bills before, but this is the first to cover all vaccinations, not just flu shots.

The bill does not prevent employers from enacting mandatory vaccination policies, as many health systems have done during flu season. Instead, it protects employees' rights to refuse the vaccine under the mandate, noted Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville.

Many medical organizations and professionals have opposed the bill, including the Ohio Hospital Association. The bill's opponents say a vaccinated healthcare workforce helps protect vulnerable patient populations from illness — the benefits of which far outweigh the small risks vaccines pose to employees.

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