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Texas governor reissues ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Texas governor reissues ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday banning vaccine mandates after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Texas' Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has reissued an executive order banning vaccines mandates days after the Food and Drug Administration gave full regulatory approval to one of the shots.

"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," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

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He also sent a letter to Texas Senate and House representatives informing them that he has added the issue of whether state or local governmental entities can issue their own COVID-19 vaccine mandates to a special legislative session.

The executive order was issued after the FDA on Monday gave full regulatory approval to the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech, making it the first of three vaccines being administered under emergency use authorization to receive such an approval.

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Abbott also issued the order as he recovers from the coronavirus infection.

The office of the fully vaccinated 63-year-old governor announced last week that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and was experiencing no symptoms.

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Earlier this week, Abbott said he has now tested negative for the virus and attributed his "brief and mild" illness to being fully vaccinated.

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"So I encourage others who have not yet received the vaccination to consider getting one," he said in a short video published to Twitter. "I will continue to quarantine at the recommendation of doctors."

Abbott has also issued through executive order a ban on local government entities from issuing masks mandates, including in schools, which has attracted criticism and lawsuits.

On Wednesday, a state district judge ruled against Abbott, stating that a county judge can require masks in public schools, colleges and businesses, but the decision is expected to be appealed by Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Abbott is one of several Republican governors who have issued executive orders preventing local governments from issuing such measures to stymie the pandemic.

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In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened the pay of local officials who issue mask mandates for schools in violation of his executive order.

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