COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said today that he hopes everyone receives the coronavirus vaccine, but it should be a person’s choice, not the result of a government mandate.
The Republican attorney general, who said he is fully vaccinated and had the booster, also said people should base their decision on conversations with doctors, not research on the internet.
“It’s fair to ask questions; ask somebody who knows,” Yost said. “Not some guy who has a sister who works with a fellow in the ER in Austin, Texas.”
Yost spoke today after Ohio solicitor general Benjamin Flowers argued in the U.S. Supreme Court against the Biden administration’s authority to impose a vaccine-or-testing requirement on the nation’s large employers. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority appeared skeptical of that authority.
Flowers, who is fully vaccinated, argued remotely after testing positive for the coronavirus Thursday. Flowers contracted the coronavirus after Christmas and had a mild case, according to Yost’s office.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have the authority to impose a mandate, Yost said.
If someone elects not to receive the vaccine, “and they get sick or die, that is not my fault,” Yost said.
“That is a consequence of their choice to fail to protect themselves, which is why I urge everybody to get the vaccine,” he said. “But the government doesn’t have the power to do any good thing.”
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 11,033.57 new cases a day on Dec. 22 to 19,538.43 new cases a day on Wednesday, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Also today, Yost for the second time rejected a petition for a proposed law that would make it illegal to require Ohioans to receive vaccinations or gene therapy. The measure’s seen as an anti-coronavirus vaccine proposal.
While the petition does not mention COVID-19 by name, it allows exceptions for a wide array of other vaccinations, including those for diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps and the flu.
Yost, whose office must authorize statewide petitions, said the proposed “Vaccine and Gene Therapy Choice and Anti-Discrimination” statute did not contain enough verified signatures.