Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order Monday stating that no business in his state can ask its employees to get the covid-19 vaccine, defying President Joe Biden’s federal order.
Biden announced a month ago that his administration plans to force most private company workers to be vaccinated or submit negative covid-19 test results on a weekly basis, something that has already caused problems for several companies, the most recent being Southwest Airlines, which was forced to cancel thousands of flights last weekend due to a lack of available personnel, largely because of the mandatory vaccination measures.
Although the measure is still under development and has not yet gone into effect, many companies are already following the federal government’s guidelines.
In response, on Monday Abbott signed an executive order prohibiting “any entity” in Texas, including private businesses, from forcing their employees to be vaccinated, asking respect for citizens’ individual freedom. He also called on the Republican-dominated state legislature to pass a law to the same effect.
Abbott is himself vaccinated against COVID-19 and has asked Texans to do the same, but maintains that it should be a personal decision.
The regulation Biden announced in September is being drafted by the Department of Labor and it is not yet known when it will be officially introduced. The regulation is expected to affect some 80 million workers, more than two-thirds of the nation’s workforce.
Around 56.4% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).