Texas Governor Greg Abbott has banned government entities from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine. Abbott’s decision comes days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” an executive order from Abbott stated.
Abbott’s recent executive order falls in line with a law he signed in June that allows state agencies to revoke the licenses of private businesses that require any proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Also, Abbott asked state lawmakers to determine whether or not local governments can mandate vaccines.
“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,” Abbot added.
With 46.2% of the state’s population vaccinated, Texas still lags behind much of the nation. In contrast, Texas continues to have some of the highest hospitalizations and infection rates in the country. A recent report from the Texas Tribune found that 89 hospitals in Texas are out of beds in the ICU. Another report from CNN showed that Texas, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas are responsible for 51% of recent COVID-19 cases.
“Achieving 74 percent vaccination coverage by July 31, 2021, could have reduced the case count to approximately 1.3 million cases in Florida and 1.5 million cases in Texas,” a study from the Commonwealth Fund found.
Still, Abbott has remained committed to distance regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.