According to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott on Monday issued an executive order prohibiting any public or private entity in the state from making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for workers or customers, a move made in pointed response to proposed federal requirements announced by President Joe Biden last month.
Specifically, the order states that “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or 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.”
In a statement announcing the decision, Abbott declared, “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” as The Epoch Times noted.
Abbott further directed the state legislature to address the issue during the special session that is currently underway and to pass a statute with similar effect, adding, “The executive order will be rescinded upon the passage of such legislation.”
The executive order appeared to be a direct rebuttal to the president’s sweeping vaccine mandate announcement, saying, “In yet another instance of federal government overreach, the Biden administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” as the Austin American-Statesman added.
Unsurprisingly, the White House made its displeasure with Abbott’s order known on Tuesday, with press secretary Jen Psaki saying, “Our intention is to implement, and continue to work to implement, these requirements across the country, including in the states where there are attempts to oppose them.”
As Fox News noted on Tuesday, all sorts of voices on the left were quick to slam Abbott over the prohibition on mandates, with CNN’s Chris Cillizza declaring, “Someone needs to remind Gregg Abbott he is a conservative.”
The liberal commentator continued, “Abbott telling private companies what to do is, literally, the exact opposite of that governing philosophy, right? Right! How did we get to this point? And how can Abbott justify what would be seen as a massive government overreach if a Democratic governor had done it?”
Interestingly, as Politico reported, Texas-based American Airlines and Southwest Airlines stated Tuesday that they would move forward with employee vaccination requirements as previously announced, regardless of Abbott’s order, but given the widespread sickouts and flight disruptions observed over the weekend that many attributed to mandate pushback among pilots, future personnel shortages could ultimately leave them no choice but to reconsider.