COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University announced all students, faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a message sent Tuesday, President Kristina Johnson said the decision was made following the FDA's full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Students, faculty and staff will be required to receive the first dose by Oct. 15. For those receiving a two-dose vaccine, the second shot must be done by Nov. 15.
Though the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only FDA fully approved, Johnson said the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or World Health Organization-approved vaccines will be accepted to meet the new requirement.
"The university is taking this step because vaccines are the safest and most effective form of protection against COVID-19," she said.
Johnson also cites how the Delta variant of the virus is fueling a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
"The good news is that vaccinated individuals, though they can get COVID-19, are less contagious than unvaccinated individuals and they are significantly less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus," she said.
The university says a limited set of exemptions will be approved on a case-by-case basis and booster shots may be required in the future.
Currently, 73% of the Ohio State community has received at least one shot, according to Johnson.
Earlier this month, the university announced masks would be required for everyone indoors on all campuses.
"Masks also continue to be an effective tool at combating the spread of COVID-19. 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," Johnson said.
Vaccinated people are not required to wear a mask outdoors while unvaccinated people will be required to wear them when they cannot maintain physical distancing.
An Ohio State student and professor both praised the university's decision.
“It’s good for the incoming freshmen because we actually get to have a college experience and everything so I was relieved,” said Laxmi Oli, an Ohio State freshman.
“As somebody who has a little girl who's too young to be vaccinated and for all of our kids who can't be vaccinated, we gotta do this,” said Dakota Rudesill, a law professor.
Ohio State has outlined its list of requirements on its website. The university says there are a “limited set of exemptions that will be approved on a case-by-case basis.”
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