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 Friday, 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.
Follow AP's coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.