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Ohio State Reports 96% Compliance With Vaccine Requirement A Week After Deadline

Ohio State employees wait for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete
Associated Press
Ohio State employees wait for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

A week after Ohio State’s deadline for students and employees to get at least a first COVID-19 shot, the university reported Friday that more than 96% of its community is at least partially vaccinated or have been granted an exemption.

In a request to Ohio State for details as to exactly how many of those unvaccinated would face consequences and what those consequences will be for employees, the university declined to say. However, spokesperson Chris Booker said that employees and students who are not vaccinated will be notified if they are not compliant before the university implements any formal corrective measures.

Booker said that those who are not compliant are being told about safety measures they will need to follow, including required testing beginning next week and completion of an eLearning course.

“Today, we messaged all students, faculty and staff about their status in the vaccination requirement,” Booker said. “More than 96% of students have responded to the requirement, either by getting vaccinated or getting an exemption. We continue to work with students who have not yet responded to encourage them to do so.”

The university previously announced that employees who do not get the vaccine or an exemption could lose access to their computers and email, as well as further disciplinary actions. Unvaccinated and non-exempt students enrolled for the spring semester will only be allowed to take online classes.

In a statement on Monday, the university said it was reviewing exemption applications for those with medical, religious or personal reasons for not getting vaccinated. The university had received nearly 5,600 exemption requests from students and employees by Monday and denied about 230, typically due to missing documentation or incomplete forms. Those individuals have been notified they can resubmit their applications with proper documentation.

The deadline for all Ohio State students, faculty and staff to have at least a first dose was October 15. Their second dose is due by November 15.

Booker said the university continues to encourage all members of the Ohio State community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.