On October 12, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive order prohibiting businesses and employers from requiring employees and consumers who object to getting a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons of personal conscience, religious belief or medical reasons (including prior recovery from COVID-19) to be vaccinated. The order states as follows:
No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a 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. I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.
This state Executive Order conflicts with President Biden’s Executive Order that applies to federal contractors to the extent it expands the reasons an employee can refuse to take the vaccine to include reasons of personal conscience and prior recovery for COVID-19. In that regard, the Governor’s Executive Order is likely preempted and inapplicable but we will need to see what legal challenges are made to the state Executive Order.
A copy of the Executive Order can be accessed here.