Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order banning Covid-19 vaccination mandates for employees or customers, including private businesses, across the second largest US state.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday citing the Republican Governor as saying.
According to the order, no entity in Texas can enforce vaccination against anyone who objects “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from Covid-19”, said the statement.
Abbott also called on the Texas legislature to pass a law with the same effect.
The move came after President Joe Biden last month announced a federal vaccine mandate requiring companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workforces are vaccinated or regularly tested.
“In yet another instance of federal government overreach, the Biden administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the Covid-19 disaster,” Abbott said in his order.
The Governor issued executive orders over the summer banning local governments and school districts from requiring either masks or vaccines, and stipulated a $1,000 fine for those who fail to comply.
School districts in San Antonio and Dallas, however, have challenged the order in court, local media reported.
About 52 per cent of Texans, including the Governor, are fully vaccinated, according to a report from The Texas Tribune.