Covid-19 vaccine mandates are back in one “deep red” state: Texas.
“The implementation of vaccine mandates at one of the largest institutions in the red state of Texas has raised concerns over the diminishing state of health freedom while a law that would provide Texans with vaccine choice remains stalled by lawmakers,” the Epoch Times reported.
“Last week, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), a prominent medical school and research center based in Houston, Texas, made an announcement,” the report added. “They declared their intention to require the latest COVID booster shot for all students, faculty, and employees.”
“An updated Covid vaccine has been approved by the FDA and is now available,” the Sept. 28 statement from the school reads. “A single dose is recommended for individuals 6 months and older. Because protection from prior vaccination fades over time and this updated vaccine better matches the currently circulating strains the updated dose is recommended. Baylor faculty, staff, and students must get the COVID vaccine, or request a medical, religious, or personal exemption by Nov. 30.”
“Because of the concern in case numbers, some entities have reinstated mask mandates. BCM does not have a mask mandate, but if you are at high risk you may consider making a personal choice to wear a mask in enclosed indoor areas,” the statement adds.
As of 2022, BCM reported a workforce comprising 11,288 employees. The institution is situated within the Texas Medical Center, renowned as the world’s largest medical center.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has publicly declared that his state “should be leading the fight against the COVID tyranny.”
Nevertheless, significant publicly funded institutions still retain the authority to enforce vaccine mandates.
In September, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 29 into law, which bars local governments from enforcing COVID-related mask mandates, vaccine mandates, or business closures. Nonetheless, a distinct piece of legislation, known as “The Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act,” aimed at preventing any Texan entity, including hospitals and private businesses, from mandating COVID vaccines for their employees, has yet to make significant progress.
Texas State Representative Brian Harrison, an advocate for a statewide prohibition on vaccine mandates, has urged Governor Abbott to convene a special session of the legislature to safeguard patient rights.
“This is Texas. We should not tolerate this here,” said Rep. Harrison. “The governor should demand we pass the Covid Vaccine Freedom Act in a special session. This makes no sense that people aren’t protected. The Senate has passed it, the governor has called for it, and members of the House overwhelmingly support it. Now we need to do it.”
Despite widespread support for the bill, it has encountered obstacles on its path to the legislative floor. Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives who oversees the Calendar Committee, has reportedly prevented its advancement, as stated by Mr. Harrison.
“The chairman waited until the very last day when a bill could be heard then he put it on page nine or 10 knowing that mathematically there would be no chance for the bill to be heard in time,” said Mr. Harrison.
“If not for his act, 30 million Texans would have freedom from COVID vaccine mandates and because of his actions Texans still have to choose between their health and their livelihood,” he added.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, a Texas-based practitioner and the founder of the Coalition of Health Freedom, expressed to The Epoch Times that the resurgence of mandates, particularly in the traditionally conservative state of Texas, has taken many people by surprise.
“Too many people have fallen into this mindset that COVID is behind us and that we don’t have to worry about mandates anymore,” said Dr. Bowden. “Well, COVID mandates are alive and well in Texas and this could just be the beginning.”
“Texas is not as red as many people would think,” she added.
The inability of the U.S. Congress and the state legislatures to resolve the assault on civil liberties that took place during the Covid pandemic has led to a state of affairs where public and private institutions feel justified in imposing “mandates” that violate Americans’ personal health decisions.
Covid-19 vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus; therefore, there is not even a “public health” justification for imposing them. The vaccines also have known side effects, such as myocarditis, that predominately affect the young, who are additionally at the least risk from Covid.
But the differentiation of risk factors is a matter to be assessed by personal doctors, who subsequently makes recommendations to patients; it is not an authority to be usurped by public health bureaucrats who issue mandates that violate personal health decisions. And compounding this moral breach, it is not legally feasible to sue vaccine companies for adverse effects due to “liability shields,” and additionally, the state has immunity.
This is not only a violation of individual rights, but an undermining of democratic accountability. America hasn’t learned its lesson from the Covid pandemic. Many of the ethical issues that the pandemic response raised remain unresolved.