Gov. Abbott issues new order prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including for private employers

Order expands previous mandate bans to include “any individual, including an employee or a consumer”
(Credit: Michael Gonzalez for The Texas Tribune)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Governor Greg Abbott has issued another executive order, saying now that “no entity” can mandate receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Executive Order GA-40, issued Monday, states receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine “by any individual, including an employee or a consumer,” cannot be mandated when the individual objects “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

The governor also submitted a letter to the Chief Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate calling for laws to ban expanded federal vaccine mandates.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” said Governor Abbott.

This new order echoes similar language in Abbott’s previous order issued in July, GA-38, suspending part of Texas Health and Safety Code that gave health authorities supervisory authority and control over the administration of communicable disease control measures, in order to declare COVID-19 vaccines cannot be compelled by governmental entities.

The governor’s latest order sets up conflict with recent federal action from the Biden Administration, in the form of sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

As part of a plan issued by President Joe Biden on September 9, including his own executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers, the President stated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.

Read Abbott’s full Executive Order GA-40, below:

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