In an executive order on Monday, Texas governor Greg Abbott banned any “entity in Texas” from requiring vaccination against the COVID-19 virus, claiming that “countless Texans” object to receiving a vaccine against COVID-19 on grounds related to “personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
In Executive Order GA-40, Abbott states, “COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but must always be voluntary for Texans.”
The governor’s order comes after United States President Joe Biden announced last month that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the U.S. Department of Labor was developing an emergency rule to mandate vaccination or weekly testing for employers with 100 or more employees.
Abbott’s order cites that “in yet another instance of federal 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.”
Abbott called on the Texas Legislature to pass a law against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and has said he would rescind the order if the Legislature did so.
Previously, Abbott blocked state and local agencies from requiring vaccines for their employees, but allowed private businesses to require mandates of their own.
The Texas Tribune noted that while Abbott has barred COVID-19 vaccination mandates, the state allows primary and secondary schools as well as post-secondary institutions to require vaccinations for a variety of diseases for their students.
Facebook Inc. and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. both employ large numbers of people in Texas, and both companies have called for proof of vaccination from their employees. The largest U.S. air carrier American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, last week called for its 100,000 employees to be vaccinated or face termination.