Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday issued a sweeping executive order that blocks nearly any vaccine mandate in the state.
Mr Abbott, a Republican, has been among the most outspoken political leaders opposing a vaccine mandate in the United States. His latest executive order covers private employers, who were exempted from previous orders against the 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 the former. Recovery from Covid-19,” the order said. “I suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this restriction.”
The order acknowledges that it is “strongly encouraged for people eligible to receive the vaccine, but should always be voluntary for Texans.”
Shortly after that order was signed, Facebook, which employs more than 2,000 people in the state, said in a statement that it was reviewing the order “and that our company’s vaccine policy currently remains unchanged.” “
Professor Srividya Raghavan, who teaches global public health at Texas A&M University School of Law, said the order would probably be prosecuted in court, as Mr Abbott’s mask mandate is banned.
Courts in the United States have a long history Upholding the Vaccine MandateProfessor Raghavan said, partly because those who oppose such a mandate are not the only persons whose rights are taken into account by courts.
Ms Raghavan said, “I can choose not to get cancer treatment, but when it is a case of an infectious disease, your independence has the potential to affect someone else.”
The order could be difficult to enforce because of its wide scope and timing, said Josh Blackman, a professor of constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law Houston. He said companies operating in multiple states would have to grapple with whether this only applies to those operating in Texas with a few.
Some businesses could face “serious financial risk” if they already have a mandate, Mr Blackman said.
The order gives rise to an already deeply polarizing debate. On one side is President Biden, who has made shots mandatory for health care workers, federal contractors and the vast majority of federal workers. Mr Biden is also calling on more companies to mandate vaccines, as a significant portion of the US population remains unvaccinated. As of Friday, 66 percent of the eligible (ages 12 and older) in the United States have been fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.