Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order today preventing any coronavirus vaccine mandate in the state.
Abbott, a Republican, has famously been vocal about his opposition to vaccine mandates throughout his term.
This latest executive order targets private employers, which had been exempt from previous edicts against the mandates.
“No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a Covid-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a 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,” the order states. “I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.”
It also states “vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but must always be voluntary for Texans.”
Facebook, which employs more than 2,000 people in the state, said in a statement it was reviewing the order “and our company vaccine policy currently remains unchanged.” Professor Srividhya Ragavan, a teacher Texas A&M University School of Law, told the New York Times that the order will probably be litigated in court, just as Mr. Abbott’s ban on mask mandates has been.
“I may choose not to get treatment for cancer,” Ms. Ragavan said, “but when it’s a case of an infectious disease, your freedom has the ability to affect someone else.”
Some businesses may face “severe financial risk” if they already have mandates in place, said Mr. Blackman.
Vaccine mandates have been deeply polarizing in the U.S, particularly given lower vaccination rates than in other first-world nations. As of Friday, 66 percent of people 12 and older in the United States have been fully vaccinated—a lower figure than other countries.
Opposition to vaccine mandates have also made strides here in Canada. Just today, independent MLA Drew Barnes of Cypress-Medicine Hat, having made a name for himself after being ejected from the UCP caucus, issued a letter to the Kenney government on that regard: