On Wednesday afternoon, Greg Abbott issued a new executive order prohibiting vaccine mandates, even for vaccines that have full FDA approval. Abbott is also calling on the legislature to take up the issue of vaccine mandates during the special session.
The governor’s new directive updates a previous executive order that he had signed banning vaccine mandates for vaccines that were under emergency use authorization. Earlier this week the FDA announced that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine received full approval (it had previously been administered through emergency use authorization during a public health crisis).
After the FDA’s announcement about Pfizer’s full authorization, several companies including Goldman Sachs, CVS Health and Pharmacy, and Disney World said they would be requiring most employees to be vaccinated. The Pentagon also announced that all U.S. service members would be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine.
Throughout the pandemic, Abbott has been at war with local leaders and school districts that have been trying to implement health measures like mask mandates. Right before Abbott issued his new executive order, a Dallas district judge ruled in favor of Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County Judge, over a mask mandate. On a media call Jenkins did not directly say whether the county would try and challenge Abbott’s new executive order banning all vaccine mandates.
As schools around Texas have started in-person learning again, more than fifty school districts have required masks on campus despite Abbott’s executive order. Paris ISD even found a creative loophole for requiring masks in their dress code. Several schools that did not have masking requirements have seen skyrocketing COVID-19 cases among students and employees.