Texas Governor Greg Abbott
(Texas Governor Greg Abbott)

Texas Governor bans COVID vaccine mandates

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Texas Governor  Greg Abbott on Wednesday (Aug. 25) announced an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any Texas government entity regardless of a vaccine’s approval status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A vaccine mandate just means that if you don’t get vaccinated, businesses, schools, and others can legally stop you from entering the building or using their services if they choose to.

Abbott’s order is saying “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Republican governor also urged state lawmakers to pass it into law during the ongoing special session of the Texas Legislature.

“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, who has been at the forefront in the battle against Covid mandates, said in a statement.

His order 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, also known as a vaccine passport.

The move comes just days after Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccine for those ages 16 and older was granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and led to a host of new vaccination mandates by private and government entities.

In April, Abbott issued an executive order banning government-required vaccine passports in Texas, following a similar decision from Florida.

The leader of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis argued that vaccination records are private information that individuals should not be forced into sharing, which would reduce their personal freedoms.

Last month Abbott, 63, signed an executive order banning mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates to promote ‘individual right and responsibility’ in the Lone Star State, just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden called on states to do more to incentivize vaccination.

Abbott said that Texans ‘have mastered the safe practices’ that prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Texas, Montana, Idaho, Florida and Utah, are states that have banned vaccine passports, which would require people to show they are vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to enter a business, receive a service or to gain employment.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little said in a press release: “Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.”

Montana is currently the only state that bans private employers from mandating Covid-19 vaccines.

With reporting by Texas Tribune, The Hill, Fox News