The decision comes at a time when several states are legally challenging Biden’s vaccination plan. Only 66% of Americans eligible to be vaccinated did so.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott on Monday issued an executive order barring both public and private companies from requiring mandatory vaccinations for their employees.
Texas has been one of the states where the leadership is most opposed to the limitations caused by covid-19. Remember that in March, Abbott ended the mandatory use of masks and opened the state to 100%. In May, the governor also issued an executive order where forbade public entities to impose the mandatory mask.
According to the New York Times, this new order on the vaccine states that “no entity in Texas can demand proof of having taken the covid-19 vaccine from any individual, including employers and consumers who are against vaccination by grounds for conscientious objection, for religious reasons, for medical reasons, or because they have already recovered from covid-19”.
Abbott thus suspends “any relevant statute within the frameworks necessary for the application of this prohibition”. Despite acknowledging that vaccines “are strongly advised”, he stresses that “they should always be taken voluntarily by all Texans”.
This announcement is yet another headache for Joe Biden, after the US President advanced in September with a vaccination plan that required government employees to be vaccinated without a test option and also all companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccination or a weekly test.
The plan was quickly criticized by the opposition, with several Republican state governors and attorneys general calling it authoritarian and move forward with processes in court to try to block Biden’s decision.
Biden continued to urge companies to take steps to get workers vaccinated, as a significant portion of the eligible population remains unvaccinated. According to the NYT, on Friday only 66% of Americans aged 12 or over were already fully vaccinated.
In addition to Texas, Florida, ruled by Republican Ron DeSantis, has also been one of the top states to oppose Biden’s measures that mandate vaccinations and masks.
Professor Srividhya Ragavan, who teaches global public health at a Texas university law school, believes Abbott’s order will be challenged in court, such as the previous ban on mandatory masks.
Courts in the US often uphold mandatory vaccination warrants, Ragavan explains to the NYT, because it’s not just the rights of those who refuse to be vaccinated that are at stake.
Both Facebook and Google, which both have offices in Texas, had announced that a vaccination certificate would be required for workers. In the case of Facebook, which employs more than 2000 people in the state, the company has already reacted to Abbott’s order in a statement, saying that your vaccination policy will not be changed..
American Airlines, based in the Texas city of Fort Worth, also announced on Friday that its more than 100,000 workers in the US must be vaccinated.