Citing "bullying" from the Biden administration that's causing many private companies to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Monday banning such mandates and has asked state legislators to codify the ban.
“No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a 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,” Abbott declared in the order signed at 4:30 p.m. Monday. “I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.”
He noted that while “COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, “ the decision to get the vaccine “must always be voluntary for Texans.”
While Abbott previously signed executive orders prohibiting government offices and certain operations in the state from imposing COVID- 19 vaccine mandates or requiring vaccine passports, he argued that the Biden administration’s bullying of private companies has made his latest executive order necessary.
“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’ continued recovery from the COVID- 19 disaster,” he wrote.
“Countless Texans fear losing their livelihoods because they object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination for reasons of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19,” the order noted.
Pointing out that “all immunization laws and regulations in Texas stem from the laws established by the legislature” Abbott called on state lawmakers to consider making his ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates into a law that will supersede his executive order on the day that legislation becomes effective.
In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, President Joe Biden ordered new federal vaccine mandates for as many as 100 million Americans, including private-sector employees, healthcare workers and federal contractors as he pushed to get tens of millions of the unvaccinated to take the shot, The Christian Post reported here and here.
As part of his mandate, businesses could face fines of up to $14,000 if they do not comply.
“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said, claiming the unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
A survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation in August showed that about three in 10 adult Americans remain unvaccinated. Among those who are resistant to taking the COVID-19 vaccine are a wide range of voices, including healthcare workers who have mounted lawsuits in places like New York state where vaccine mandates are in place.
The Brooklyn Nets’ star point guard Kyrie Irving, who has not taken a COVID-19 vaccine, won't be playing home games this season as a result of the vaccine mandates.
“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” Nets Coach Steve Nash told the New York Post, noting that Irving did not even travel with the team for Monday’s preseason game at Philadelphia.
“We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year; so it just depends on when, where and how much,” Nash added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that just over 65% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated while some 76% of the population over age 12 has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Reacting to Abbott’s executive order Monday night, Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist, health economist and a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, who serves as an advisor and COVID-19 expert committee member for the World Health Organization, called it “dystopian and sad.”
“Let this sink in - @GovAbbott declares ‘I have renewed the COVID-19 disaster declaration for all Texas counties’ — but then proceeds to kneecap all vaccine mandate rules. Dystopian @GregAbbott_TX, dystopian and sad,” he tweeted.