Texas governor bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates regardless of approval status

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order on Wednesday banning any governmental entity in the state from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of its approval status.

The move comes just days after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

It marks a change from the governor’s previous executive order, which banned mandates for vaccines administered under an emergency use authorization.

According to the order, “No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

It did not mention employer mandates and preserves exceptions for places such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities and state-supported living centers.

The order also maintains an existing ban on publicly funded facilities requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry. 

A law signed by Abbott in June allows state agencies to revoke the licenses of private businesses that require any proof of vaccination or a negative test. 

Additionally, Abbott asked the state legislature to consider whether state and local governments can mandate vaccines, and if so, what exemptions can apply.

“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.

Texas lawmakers are currently convening in a special session. The House restored a quorum last week when enough Democrats returned to the state after staging a nearly six-week protest of the GOP’s elections bill.

Outside Texas, the full federal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday led to a host of new vaccination mandates by private and government entities.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines Texas vaccine mandate

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