Texas Governor Greg Abbott reissued an updated executive order Wednesday as per which local government entities in the state are banned and forbidden to mandate any COVID-19 vaccination even after Pfizer received full FDA authorization. This comes even as the United States witnesses an alarming surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
The previous executive order Abbott signed only covered banning vaccines that were only approved for emergency use but, the latest order bans COVID-19 vaccines regardless of their approval status. The order also affects businesses that partner with the state but allows exceptions to private businesses, nursing homes, state-supported living centers, and long-term care facilities.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement Wednesday, KSAT.com reported.
The governor also suspended multiple sections of the state health code just to implement his orders.
In a statement, district officials of San Antonio ISD said they will move forward with their vaccinate mandate despite the new executive order released. San Antonio ISD issued earlier this month their vaccination mandate. The district is also the first in the state to require the COVID19 vaccine to its constituents.
Abbott also added one more agenda to the legislative special session held Wednesday, asking the Legislature to take into consideration taking action to address if the state or local entities can require the vaccines and if so, what will be the exemptions in the mandate.
This executive order issued may receive criticism and invite legal challenges, same as with his previous order banning local governments from requiring masks in public schools. The Bexas County was able to obtain an injunction in the court, which prevented the implementation of the previous order and allowing the county to mandate masks in schools.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg condemned the new executive order and released a statement that was sent to KSAT 12 News. “Confusion is the enemy of emergency response, and the governor is excelling at it,” Nirenberg said. “Mask up, get vaccinated, protect yourself and those around you. It’s as simple as that,” he said.