Which Ohio state lawmakers want the vaccine, which don’t?

While the nation is undertaking the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history, several Ohio lawmakers said they’re taking a pass.

This newspaper asked 16 representatives and five senators from the Miami Valley if they would be vaccinated against COVID-19. Six of them said no; 11 said yes and four either declined to answer or didn’t respond.

“I don’t trust the vaccine. Basically, the whole COVID thing is bogus. I think it’s real, like the flu, but it’s not a pandemic,” said state Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia, who says he won’t be vaccinated.

As of mid-March, nearly 1 million Ohioans have been infected by the coronavirus, leading to more than 51,800 hospitalizations and more than 18,100 deaths. Scientific studies show COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate than influenza in nearly all age groups and COVID-19 survivors are more likely to suffer from lingering symptoms.

State Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana, refused to say whether he would get the shot to protect against COVID-19. “I’ve never vaccinated any of my kids,” he said.

Childhood vaccinations protect individuals and the public at large against serious infectious diseases including polio, mumps, measles, whooping cough and tetanus.

“I’m not planning on getting it,” said state Rep. Rodney Creech, R-West Alexandria. “I trust my body to fight off what it needs to fight off.”

State Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester, who previously had COVID-19, said he’s heard too many negative stories and the virus doesn’t seem as deadly as it’s been portrayed, so he won’t get vaccinated. “I’m not an anti-vaxxer. Anybody who wants to get it, go get it,” Lang said.

State Rep. Jennifer Gross, R-West Chester, said she is concerned about some information coming out about the vaccinations so she won’t get vaccinated any time soon. “I just want to watch it for a couple of years,” she said.

When asked if he’d get the shot, state Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, said: “Not at this time.”

State Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., said that at age 25, he doesn’t think he needs it.

House Health Committee Chairman Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, changed his mind after family members asked him to reconsider. He now plans to get vaccinated.

The Federal Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to three vaccines designed to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 disease. The vaccines went through a streamlined administrative review process but still underwent clinical trials and are based on years of scientific research.

One in five Ohioans, 2.49 million people, have started getting vaccinated.

State Sens. Bob Hackett, R-London; Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City; and Steve Wilson, R-Maineville; have already been vaccinated. State Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said he plans to sign up after he becomes eligible March 29.

State Reps. Willis Blackshear Jr., D-Dayton; Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton; Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek; Phil Plummer, R-Dayton; Andrea White, R-Kettering; and Tom Young, R-Washington Twp., said they have been or plan to be vaccinated.

State Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Lakeview, declined to disclose whether she’ll be vaccinated. State Reps. Jena Powell, R-Laura, and Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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