Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) doubled down his stance against COVID-19 vaccine mandates by signing an Executive Order that reasserts his ban on government-issued vaccine mandates. This move comes days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its full and final approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
The order, issued on Wednesday, reinforces previous orders and legislation against the implementation of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports in Texas.
“I have issued a series of executive orders aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans, ensuring uniformity throughout Texas, and achieving the least restrictive means of combating the evolving threat to public health,” the order reads. “COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but have always been voluntary for Texans.”
Abbott, who is currently recovering from the Wuhan coronavirus, has also taken a stance against mask mandates in the state, which resulted in a back-and-forth with a Dallas County judge who worked to allow mask mandates in the area. The only exceptions to yesterday’s order are nursing homes, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and other similar businesses.
“Any public or private entity that is receiving or will receive public funds through any means, including grants, contracts, loans, or other disbursements of taxpayer money, shall not require a consumer to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine. No consumer may be denied entry to a facility financed in whole or in part by public funds for failure to provide documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine,” the order states.
In a statement, Abbott said that “the issue of whether any state or local governmental entities in Texas can mandate that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine and, if so, what exemptions should apply to such mandate” has been added to the state’s special session agenda.
“Vaccine requirements & exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature. Their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott wrote on Twitter.
The FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine has led several lawmakers and entities to encourage vaccine mandates and even offering incentives to those who get vaccinated. While Abbott himself is fully vaccinated and has encouraged others to do so, it is unlikely that he will allow mandates requiring vaccination. He is currently working on launching monoclonal antibody therapy treatment centers in the state for those who contract COVID-19.