Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any entity

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Monday prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any “entity,” including employers, if someone objects to the vaccine for “any reason of personal conscience.”

Why it matters: The new executive order goes further than Abbott’s previous vaccine mandate ban passed in August, which prohibited vaccine mandates by any state government entity or entities that received public funds.

State of play: Abbott has also submitted the issue to the state legislature’s special session agenda. The executive order would be rescinded once legislation codifying it has passed, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The executive order also lists prior infection with COVID-19 as a possible medical reason for objecting to the vaccine.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott wrote in the news release.

The big picture: Abbott has fought vehemently against public health measures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He previously banned vaccine passports implemented after emergency use authorizations and its ban on mask mandates has promoted an investigation by the Department of Education.

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