AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Days after testing negative for COVID-19, after coming down with the virus late last week, Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday, August 25, issued an executive order maintaining the current policy prohibiting the mandating of any COVID-19 vaccinations by any government entity in the State of Texas.
Gov. Abbott is vaccinated against COVID-19 and has said Texans should consider getting the vaccine.
In his executive order he reiterated, "COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but have always been voluntary for Texans."
Under his latest order, he seeks to ensure that "no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine."
Additionally, Governor Abbott added to the Special Session agenda 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.
"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," said Governor Abbott.
SMU Law Professor Eric Cedillo believes the governor's vaccine mandate ban will be harder to challenge in court than the governor's mask mandate ban.
"Lots of companies, if you receive public money, the possibility exists of course with PPP loans that people receive or companies received may be part and parcel of what he's maintaining. So I think the language is relatively broad intentionally to discourage companies from requiring vaccinations," Cedillo said.
State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), a former critical care nurse, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Abbott's latest executive order.
"Today, over 13,000 Texans are hospitalized with COVID-19 — nearly matching our previous peak — and our governor's response is to double-down on his prohibition of vaccine requirements.
"His original executive order on COVID-19 vaccines listed the fact that they were not yet FDA-approved as a part of the justification for refusing to require them. Now, the Pfizer vaccine is FDA-approved, and he's moving the goalposts.
"Deaths are on the rise. Our vaccination rate is plateauing. We are second only to Florida in highest case averages. And, again and again, Gov. Abbott squanders every opportunity to protect the health and safety of Texans."
READ EXECUTIVE ORDER HERE
READ GOV. ABBOTT'S LETTER TO THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE
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