Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday banning cities or counties in the state from issuing vaccine mandates regardless of FDA approval status, even as more private employers go the opposite direction in requiring their workers to get vaccinated.
Abbott’s executive order bans any state or local mandates to require Texans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, either as employees or to access public services or benefits.
It comes as the battle over vaccine mandates heats up, with private employers such as Delta Air Lines fining employees who refuse to get vaccinated, and Democrat mayors such as Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot vowing to require the shots for all city employees.
The new order in Texas does not apply to private employers, which in the US generally have the right to require workers to get vaccinated. Instead it specifically prohibits mandates from government entities.
Abbott, a Republican, issued his new ban in an executive order to fill a loophole left by the full FDA authorization of the Pfizer vaccine. He had previously banned the requirement of vaccinations under emergency use authorizations.
‘COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but have always been voluntary for Texans,’ stated Abbott’s new order. ‘No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.’