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Texas Governor Extends Prohibition on Vaccine Mandates

August 26, 2021

Texas governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Wednesday barring any governmental entity from requiring vaccination against COVID-19.

Abbott, a Republican, previously issued an order in April that barred governmental entities, including public colleges, from requiring any COVID-19 vaccine approved under the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization process. The new order -- issued two days after the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-manufactured vaccine -- prohibits governmental entities from requiring “any” COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of the mechanism of approval.

Abbott urged the Legislature to take up the issue. A “whereas” clause in the new order says, “It is appropriate to maintain the status quo of prohibiting vaccine mandates through executive order while allowing the legislature to consider this issue while in session.”

Abbott’s prohibition on requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination also applies to private entities that receive any form of governmental funding.

Almost 800 colleges have mandated vaccination against COVID-19. The American College Health Association and other higher education groups have been deeply critical of state-level executive orders and laws that limit colleges’ ability to impose vaccine mandates or other public health measures. ACHA and other groups issued a statement earlier this month condemning such restrictions as “dangerous” and saying they “ultimately threaten the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and neighboring communities.”

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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