RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an order banning all vaccine mandates statewide, including for private companies, arguing that while he favors vaccines, they should never be imposed on individuals against their will.
Signed Monday, Abbott’s executive order states that “no entity in Texas may compel any individual to receive a Covid-19 vaccine … who objects to such vaccine” for any reason, whether religious objections, medical concerns or other causes of “personal conscience” – threatening a fine of up to US$1,000 for violators.
While Abbott said that “the Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus,” he also added that it “must remain voluntary and never forced.”
The order invokes the state’s Covid-19 emergency management plan, which allows for fines of up to US$1,000 for those who fail to comply with its measures. While the program itself also provides a maximum jail sentence of 180 days, Abbott noted that jail time “is not an available penalty” for violating Monday’s executive order.
However, in a separate message to the Texas legislature, Abbott also urged lawmakers to craft a bill similar to his executive order, “providing that no entity in Texas may compel anyone to receive a Covid-19 vaccine,” in hopes of codifying the measure into law rather than simply relying on executive authority.
In June, Abbott also signed legislation threatening to revoke the licenses and operating permits of businesses that require customers to be vaccinated, effectively excluding “vaccine passports” while arguing that “Texas is 100 percent open, and we want to make sure you have the freedom to go wherever you want without limits.”
Abbott’s moves against vaccine mandates mirror similar efforts by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, one of the nation’s staunchest opponents of such requirements.
Last month, DeSantis threatened fines of up to US$5,000 for any state agency that requires vaccination as a condition of employment, insisting that in Florida, vaccines will remain “available to everyone but mandatory for no one.”
In addition to banning vaccine ‘passports’ for state and private agencies, the governor has also banned facemask mandates in several settings, including public schools, which started a heated legal battle.
A news large-scale scientific study has shown that there is no correlation between vaccination rates and new infections.
Nonetheless, authorities in other U.S. states as well as in various European countries as France and Italy but also Brazilian cities Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo still insist on introducing these vaccination cards, which many consider dangerous for social cohesion while creating an upper and lower class of citizens.
In Europe, most of the advanced countries of the continent, such as Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, or the United Kingdom have recently either abolished the vaccination card again or not introduced it at all due to new findings. These decisions are based on similar considerations as in Texas and Florida.
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