Abbott prohibits vaccine mandates, subject to legislative action

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AUSTIN, TX – JUNE 08: Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference where he signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 at the Capitol on June 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Governor Abbott signed the bills into law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and weatherize and improve the reliability of the state’s power grid. The bill signing comes months after a disastrous February winter storm that caused widespread power outages and left dozens of Texans dead. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (ValleyCentral) — Gov. Abbott prohibited local governments from issuing vaccine mandates and “vaccine passports,” however he would rescind the order following legislative action.

The order was issued to maintain the previously instated executive order GA-38, which prohibits mask and vaccine mandates. Executive order GA-38 was able to prohibit anybody from requiring the vaccine because all three COVID vaccines were only under the FDA’s Emergency Authorization.

On Monday, the FDA gave the Pfizer vaccine full approval for people 16 years and older. The Texas Health and Safety Code and Texas Education Code give the Texas Legislature the power to decide immunization laws and regulations.

“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.

Abbott’s order states that he would rescind the executive order “upon the effective date of such legislation.” The governor said he would add the issue to the Texas Legislature’s agenda.

Currently the state requires seven vaccines for students in grades K-12, according to the Department of State Health Services’ website.

Lawmakers are in their second special session, and time is limited to go through the 17-item agenda that Abbott previously announced, the Texas Tribune reported.

The order includes that any public or private entity that receives public funds cannot require a consumer to provide proof of vaccination.

However, the order does not limit the ability of nursing homes, state-supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities to require documentation of a resident’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine.

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