Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Texas governor doubles down, bans vaccine mandates despite FDA approval

Story at a glance

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed an executive order maintaining his ban on government issued vaccine mandates.
  • The governor tasked the state legislature to decide if government entities can mandate vaccines.
  • “Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday signed an executive order maintaining his ban on government-issued vaccine mandates, despite the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. 

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The governor, who is recovering after testing positive for the virus, added to the state legislature’s special session the issue of whether a state or local entity possesses the authority to issue such a mandate. 

“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said in a statement

Yet Abbott made exemption for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 


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Full approval of Pfizer’s vaccine has led to speculation that an increasing number of localities and institutions could begin mandating vaccination. 

“There are universities and businesses that have been considering putting in vaccine requirements in order to create a safer workplace or a learning environment,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said prior to the Pfizer-BioNTech approval.

“I think this announcement from the FDA would likely encourage them and make them feel more comfortable in putting some requirements in place,” he added. 


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Abbott previously vowed to fight school districts and government-funded facilities that attempted to mandate masks, and various school districts have fought back. Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction against the governor’s order banning mask mandates, contending it limits the county’s ability to contain viral spread. 

Texas reported more than 21,000 new COVID-19 cases and 249 deaths in the past day, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Nearly 48 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. 


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