Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Bans All Coronavirus Vaccine Mandates

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Damir Mujezinovic

President Joe Biden in September directed the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated against the novel coronavirus and mandated vaccines for federal employees.

Red states have tried to push back against this initiative, but Texas refused to do so for a long time, with Gov. Greg Abbott explicitly saying that the government has no right to forbid companies from imposing vaccine mandates.

Abbott has changed his mind, issuing this week an executive order banning all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in his state.

Abbott Issues Executive Order

As per The Texas Tribune, Abbott's executive order bans any entity in Texas from requiring vaccinations.

"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced," the governor said in a tweet.

Abbott also urged the Texas Legislature to pass a law banning vaccine mandates, vowing to rescind the executive order once that happened

This was a significant reversal for Abbott, who has described the vaccines as safe and effective on many occasions, and urged his constituents to get their shots.

Why Did Abbott Change His Mind?

In his order, Abbott accused the Biden administration of "bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas's continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster."

So why did the governor changes his mind? Due to pressure from more radical elements of the Republican Party, it seems.

One of his primary challengers, Don Huffines, made sure to celebrate the sudden reversal.

"I am very pleased to see that our campaign has forced Greg Abbott to reverse his position on this important issue," Huffines said in a statement.

Texas Vaccine Mandates

Around 52 percent of Texas are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Abbott himself got the vaccine on TV, while urging his constituents to do the same.

Still, Texas Republicans do not agree with the governor and seem to oppose coronavirus vaccine mandates.

But Texas has long had a number of vaccine mandates. Public schools in the state require K-12 students to get vaccinated against measles, polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chickenpox, hepatitis A, meningitis, and several other diseases.

College students, meanwhile, are required to get vaccinated against meningitis, while health care workers are required to get several additional vaccines.

Polls

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Though Texans may not support Biden's vaccine mandates, most Americans do.

Research from Gallup shows that 60 percent of Americans back requiring all federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while 58 percent support requiring large companies to do the same.

The vast majority of Democrats, around 50 percent of independent voters, and some Republicans support Biden's measures, according to Gallup.

Research also shows that majorities of both Democrats and independents support vaccine mandates for K-12 teachers, while Republicans do not.

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