Texas Governor Abbott Bans State Vaccine Mandates
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who has been very outspoken on opposing coronavirus mandates, recently signed an executive order prohibiting all organizations from requiring employees or customers be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new Executive Order GA-40 states that no “entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or…consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
In a statement, Gov. Abbott said "The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced". Abbott had previously issued orders banning government officials and entities from instating mask mandates, including public schools and universities. And those found in violation of the order will be subject to a fine.
This order escalates an already deeply divided debate. On one side of it is President Biden, who has mandated shots for health care workers, federal contractors and the majority of federal workers, and has ordered all private employers with 100 workers or more to require their workers to be vaccinated or undergo frequent testing. The President stated the need to "protect the vaccinated workers from the unvaccinated." See President Biden's COVID-19 plan for more information.
Republican governors of Texas, Florida, and other neighboring states are on the opposing side of argument, stating that any mandates that would require masks or vaccines is an infringement on personal liberties.
Meanwhile, this month California became the first US state to require all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person classes. The state has one of the highest vaccination rates in the US and already requires vaccinations for all medical workers.
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