Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Monday banning any entity, including private business, from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on workers and calling on state lawmakers to pass similar restrictions into law .
The move comes as the Biden administration is set to issue rules requiring employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly for the coronavirus. Several major companies, including Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, have said they will comply with the federal mandate.
“No entity in Texas may compel any person, including an employee or consumer, to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for any reason in personal discretion, on the basis of religious belief, or for medical reasons. opposes vaccination, including prior recovery from COVID-19,” Abbott wrote in his order.
Abbott, who was previously vaccinated and later tested positive for COVID-19, noted in his order that “the vaccine is strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive, but for Texans should always be voluntary.”
Abbott previously held off on vaccine mandates by state and local government agencies, but had until now let private companies make their own rules for their employees. It was not immediately clear whether Abbott’s latest executive order would face an immediate court challenge.
Abbott’s new order also has political implications. Two-time Republicans are facing pressure from two candidates in next year’s GOP primaries, former state Sen. Don Huffins and former Florida Congressman and Texas State Party chairman Alan West attacking Abbott’s COVID-19 policies and has strongly opposed the vaccine mandate.
“He knows which way the wind is blowing. He knows conservative Republican voters are tired of the vaccine mandate and tired of being a failed leader,” Huffins tweeted.
West announced this week that he tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized, but also tweeted that he is opposed to the vaccine mandate.
Texas has recently seen a decrease in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. But the recent surge in deaths due to the delta variant has led the state to rapidly approach 67,000 total fatalities since the pandemic began in 2020.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /