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Ohio law banning non-FDA approved vaccine mandates in public schools now in effect

This means the COVID-19 vaccines cannot be mandated for most of the state's schoolchildren for the foreseeable future.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

In July, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill banning mandates in public schools and universities for vaccines that have not been or have yet to been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After a 90-day waiting period, that bill is now in effect as of Tuesday, Oct. 13.

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In addition to banning mandates for non-FDA-approved vaccines, House Bill 244 prohibits individuals who don't receive emergency use vaccines from being denied the chance to participate in school activities, including sports. The law could have a significant impact on the distribution of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, with the Pfizer vaccine currently being the only one to be FDA-approved. COVID-19 vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson and Moderna have each received Emergency Use Authorization.

With Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine currently only fully approved for individuals 16-years-old and older -- with Emergency Use Authorization for ages 12-15 -- Ohio's new law means that it won't be able to be mandated for any students younger than 16 until it receives complete FDA approval for that age range. Pfizer is also seeking emergency approval to allow kids 5-11 to get the shots, but even if that occurs soon, it will likely take months for full approval to be obtained for that age group.

RELATED: COVID shots for ages 5-11 won't have CDC authorization by Halloween

In July, DeWine, who approved the bill without any public comment, urged the FDA to move forward with its approval process in order to make the COVID-19 vaccine more widely available.

“It is past time for the FDA to take into account that hundreds of millions of people have received these vaccines, and move it from an emergency basis over to a regular basis,” the governor said Tuesday. “That will help us, in Ohio and across the country, to get more people vaccinated.”

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