In a move to prevent institutions such as universities or private companies from requiring individuals who study or work there to require a COVID-19 vaccine, Texas governor Greg Abbott on Monday issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates “by any entity” in the state.
While the governor claimed he believed the vaccine against Covid was “safe and effective” and the state’s “best defense against the virus,” he said the decision or not to get vaccinated had to be voluntary “and never forced”.
The move sets up Abbott for a clash with President Joe Biden, who last week month called on all employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines for workers or test weekly for the virus.
He also required all federal workers and contractors to get a vaccine.
“We’re in a tough stretch, and it could last for a while,” Biden said, as the delta variant of the coronavirus has caused deaths to rise across the country. He added: “We can and we will turn the tide on Covid-19.”
Biden has said at this stage, the pandemic is a crisis of the unvaccinated, pointing to how the vast number of people dying from the virus are people who have not got a vaccine.
Many millions of Americans have still not got a jab, often people living in states controlled by Republicans.
Texas stands 29 out of 50 when the individual states are measured by the percentage of their population that has received a vaccine. Currently, just 52 percent have received two shots of the vaccine, as recommended by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).
Yet, Texas has the second-largest number of deaths from the virus, just behind Florida.
“In yet another instance of federal government overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said in his order.
I issued an Executive Order prohibiting vaccine mandates by ANY entity in Texas.
I also added the issue to the Special Session agenda.
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced. pic.twitter.com/8hHHLyebCk
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 11, 2021