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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 The executive order would be rescinded once legislation codifying it has passed, according to a press release from the governor's office.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

GE to mandate COVID vaccinations for U.S. workers

Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

General Electric will require all of its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, citing President Biden's executive order for federal contractors, the company confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: General Electric is the latest in a slew of major companies to mandate the vaccine for workers, following in the footsteps of American Airlines, Tyson Foods and Microsoft, among others.

17 hours ago - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.