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(Office of the Governor)

Gov. Greg Abbott is continuing his battle to keep vaccine mandates out of Texas, issuing an executive order that reinforces the existing policy that says no government entity can require a COVID vaccine in Texas.

The order, which was issued on Wednesday, mirrors his latest one by saying "COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but have always been voluntary for Texans."

Abbott also added the issue of whether any state or local governmental entities in Texas can mandate that an individual receive a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as what exemptions apply, to the Special Session agenda.

"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.

The new order comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized full approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week. In his previous order, vaccines under emergency use were banned from being mandated. Abbott's new order reasons that Pfizer is not approved for all age groups and that the legislature needs time to consider a mandate with exemptions.


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