COLUMBUS, Ohio — Friday morning, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine responded to President Joe Biden's plan to vaccinate more than 100 million Americans in the coming months with a vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees.
"I think the President made a mistake by announcing federal vaccine mandates. We should be focused on the science of preventing virus spread - the vaccine is our best tool to stop COVID - but people and business owners should make their own decisions about vaccination," DeWine said in a tweet Friday.
The plan announced by the president requires all companies in the U.S. to either mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or test unvaccinated employees once a week to monitor spread. Additionally, more than 17 million medical personnel that work at facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid dollars will need to be fully vaccinated.
Two of Northeast Ohio's largest healthcare systems, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, released statements Thursday after Biden's announcement, with Cleveland Clinic officials saying they "plan to comply" and UH telling 3News that they have no comment at this time, but are urging all employees to receive the vaccine.
Biden's announcement comes as vaccination rates across the country, including here in Ohio have steadily plateaued. In the Buckeye State, less than 50 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In recent weeks, the U.S. has also seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, as the Delta variant spreads rapidly; In the last 24 hours, Ohio reported just over 9,000 new cases.
President Biden did not mince words Thursday when addressing the nation, saying that his decision to implement the new mask mandates is a move to "protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers."
"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," Biden said Tuesday. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
Gov. DeWine isn't the only official in state government to respond to Biden's plans, however. During the president's speech Thursday evening, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted that he plans to fight Biden "to the gates of hell" over the mandate. On Friday morning, Indiana's AG Todd Rokita announced that he plans to file a lawsuit against the Biden Administration over the proposed mandates.
You can watch President Biden's full Thursday evening address in the player below: