Texas Governor Bans COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: What to Know
The Biden Administration announced last week of its plans to introduce a COVID vaccine mandate for private employers
The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, on Monday 11 October, issued an executive order barring any private business or entity from enforcing a vaccine mandate.
“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 was quoted by the New York Times.
In the order, Abbott went on to clarify that he encourages the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, but that they "must always be voluntary for Texans.”
The Biden Administration's Vaccine Mandate
Governor Abbott's order comes in response to the Biden administration announcing their plans to introduce a vaccine mandate as part of their 'six-pronged strategy' to combat the ongoing COVID-19 surge in the country.
According to the vaccine mandate, any employer or organisation with more than a hundred employees is required to ensure that every employee is either vaccinated or submits a COVID-19 negative test result every week.
President Biden also said that employees who meet the criteria must give their employees time of to get themselves and their families vaccinated.
“We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the work force that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”US President Joe Biden, quote by the New York Times
This new mandate, would impact over 80 million workers in the US, according to the NPR.
The Biden administration has already moved mandated shots for healthcare workers and certain categories of federal workers. The new mandate would essentially also include private entities.
The Otherside: Pushback from the Republican States
The Biden administration's plans are only one side of a deeply polarised debate where the other side, republican governors of states including Texas and Florida have fiercely opposed it, arguing that it infringes on personal liberty.
Governor Abbott's order comes at a time when many employers in Texas are beginning to enforce a vaccine mandate on their employees.
It was reported that before Monday's order, the offices of Facebook and Google in Texas had also announced that they would require their employees to show proof of vaccination, reported the New York Times.
In the order, Abbott added that the Biden Administration was "bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates," and that it was disrupting the workforce of the state.
(Written with inputs from the New York Times and NPR.)
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