A bill to ban vaccine mandates by businesses failed in the Texas legislature on Tuesday morning after failing to garner enough support.

The bill had been a top priority of Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who issued an executive order banning vaccine mandates last week. Abbott’s order bars all state entities and private employers from enforcing vaccine mandates for workers.

According to the order, “no entity in Texas” can force a person to get vaccinated if he/she objects “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

Abbott re-affirmed the safety of the vaccine in a statement. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” he said.

The governor has previously banned government vaccine mandates, vaccine passports and school mask mandates. Abbott himself contracted the virus in August.

Back in March, when Abbott banned mask mandates, he stated: “Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”

President Joe Biden, who has been pushing for vaccine mandates, has publicly called out Abbott, as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida). “We’re facing a lot of pushback, especially from some of the Republican governors,” Biden said. “The governors of Florida and Texas are doing everything they can to undermine the life-saving requirements that I’ve proposed. This is the worst kind of politics because it’s putting the lives of citizens of their states, especially children, at risk. And I refuse to give in to it.”

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