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Greg Abbott. Photo: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any "entity," including employers, if someone objects to the vaccine for "any reason of personal conscience."

Why it matters: The new executive order goes further than the Republican governor's previous vaccine mandate ban passed in August, which prohibited vaccine mandates by any state government entity or entities that received public funds.

State of play: Abbott has also submitted the issue to the state legislature's special session agenda. The executive order would be rescinded once legislation codifying it has passed, according to a press release from the governor's office.

The executive order also lists prior infection with COVID-19 as a possible medical reason for objecting to the vaccine.

  • "The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Abbott wrote in the news release.

The big picture: Abbott has fought vehemently against public health measures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
13 hours ago - Health

COVID vaccines for kids are getting closer

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Millions of kids under 12 could begin getting COVID-19 shots "within the first week or two of November," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" over the weekend.

Why it matters: This would be a major milestone for getting approximately 28 million more kids protected as they prepare to gather with family during the holidays and spend more time indoors due to cold weather.

13 hours ago - Health

A choose-your-own COVID booster adventure

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

COVID-19 boosters are now available for many adults who want one.

  • But the various combinations of who should get one and when now that mixing and matching shots got the OK just made the process much more complex.

Why it matters: The CDC has yet to issue final clinical guidance but the panel's discussions and interim clinical considerations last week show picking whatever shot they want leaves room for confusion.

12 hours ago - Health

Study reveals disparities in hospitals' COVID funds

Hospitals that received the most federal coronavirus relief money were disproportionately academic-affiliated and had higher pre-pandemic assets, according to a new study published in JAMA Health Forum.

Yes, but: Those hospitals were also more likely to have had higher numbers of COVID cases.