In The News

Texas Governor Abbott bans vaccine mandates in state

By Overdrive Staff
Posted Oct 12th 2021 4:12PM

Texas on Monday became the first state to go on the offensive in response to President Joe Biden's quest to boost the economy and reduce COVID infections and deaths through a vaccine or testing requirement for certain employers.

Last month President Biden charged Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with developing and implementing a rule that would have employers with 100 or more workers to require COVID vaccines or regular testing. The move is expected to impact more than 80 million unvaccinated workers in private sector businesses with 100 employees or more.

According to the Mayo Clinic, as of Oct. 11, 65.5% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 56.6% are fully vaccinated.

Many states have promised to fight the requirement if it comes to pass. Some states have passed rules against involuntary mask use or enforcing mandates on certain segments – like teachers and healthcare workers – or requiring vaccine passports, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott's initiative is broader. 

In his executive order, Abbott said that "no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."

Abbott also sent a message to the the Chief Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate adding this issue as an item to the Third Special Session agenda.

"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Abbott said via statement. 

Texas is home to more truck drivers than any other state in the U.S., and is behind only California with regard to number of trucking companies.