In a move that will pit him against U.S. President Joe Biden, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has passed an executive order banning all entities, both public and private, from enforcing vaccines in the state. Last month President Biden had asked employers to ensure that their staff are vaccinated or regularly tested, CNBC reported.
Republican Governor Abbott has been quite vocal against vaccine mandates since the beginning of the pandemic and is among many in the U.S. that see mandatory vaccines as encroaching on constitutional freedoms, BBC reported. Abbott has also opposed mask mandates and passed executive orders that ban local governments and school districts from enforcing masks with $1,000 fines for failing to comply with these orders, CNBC reported.
Interestingly, Abbott himself is fully vaccinated and according to the BBC, even attributed his recovery from the disease to the vaccine. But believes that President Biden's mandate is "another instance of federal overreach" that is "bullying private entities" and "causing workforce disruptions" that are "threatening Texas' continued recovery from COVID-19", as per his executive order.
The Governor also cited multiple reasons including religious and medical ones why an individual might object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and stated that federal order if executed, could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of Texans. Recently, American Airlines told its 100,000 staff that they would be fired if they did not provide proof of full vaccination by November 24, BBC reported.
A recent report confirmed that the virus has killed more Americans than the Spanish Flu of 1918. The order goes on to state that the vaccines are strongly encouraged for all those who are eligible to receive them. A statement released by the Governor's office also says, "COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never be forced."
The Governor has also called on the state legislature to formulate necessary laws to bring this order into effect, after which the executive order will be rescinded.