COVID-19 vaccine mandates have resurfaced in the deeply conservative state of Texas.
Students, Teachers and Faculty Need to Be Vaccinated
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), a prominent institution in Houston, Texas, has announced its requirement for students, faculty, and employees to receive the latest COVID booster shot.
Concerns Over Freedom of Health
This development raises concerns about the state of health freedom in Texas and comes as lawmakers have yet to pass legislation preventing vaccine mandates, despite widespread support for such measures.
Single Dose Approved for Babies and Up
BCM’s statement, issued on September 28, noted that the FDA had approved an updated COVID vaccine and recommended a single dose for individuals aged 6 months and older.
Needed to Protect Against New Virus Strains
Baylor College of Medicine stated that the updated vaccine was necessary as the protection from prior vaccination diminishes over time, and the new vaccine aligns better with the currently circulating virus strains.
All Students and Faculty Must Follow
The institution mandated that faculty, staff, and students must receive the COVID vaccine or request a medical, religious, or personal exemption by November 30.
Other Places Have Brought Back Masks
While some entities have reinstated mask mandates due to rising COVID case numbers, BCM, as of the statement, did not have a mask mandate.
The College Doesn’t Require Masks
The institution advised those at high risk to make a personal choice regarding mask-wearing in enclosed indoor spaces.
Largest Medical Center
Baylor College of Medicine, with a workforce of 11,288 employees as of 2022, is located within the Texas Medical Center, renowned as the world’s largest medical center.
Publicly Funded Institutions Can Enforce
Despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s vocal opposition to COVID mandates, publicly funded institutions still maintain the authority to enforce vaccine mandates.
The New Piece of Legislation
Although Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 29 into law in September, preventing local governments from imposing COVID-related mask mandates, vaccine mandates, or business closures, progress has been slow on a separate piece of legislation known as “The Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act.”
No Hospital Can Enforce Vaccines
This legislation aims to prohibit any Texan entity, including hospitals and private businesses, from mandating COVID vaccines for their employees.
Legislation Needed to Protect Patient Rights
State Representative Brian Harrison, a strong advocate for statewide vaccine mandate restrictions, has urged Governor Abbott to call a special legislative session to protect patient rights.
Challenges Moving Forward
Despite significant support for the bill, it has faced challenges on its path to the legislative floor, with Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, reportedly hindering its progress.
People Are Surprised Over Mandates in Texas
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, a Texas-based practitioner and founder of the Coalition of Health Freedom, expressed surprise at the resurgence of mandates, particularly in a traditionally conservative state like Texas.
New Developments Are Bringing Back Mandates
She said that many people had assumed COVID mandates were no longer a concern, but the recent developments show that this may be just the beginning.
Public vs. Private Institutions
The ongoing debate showcases the broader issue of public and private institutions feeling justified in imposing mandates that infringe upon individual health decisions due to the lack of legislative action at the federal and state levels.
Vaccines Don’t Stop Transmission
COVID vaccines do not halt virus transmission which raises questions about the justification for mandating them in the name of public health.
Some Side Effects of the Vaccine
The vaccines have known side effects, such as myocarditis, which primarily affect the young, who are at lower risk from COVID.
Decisions Should Be Personal, Not Public
Leaving many to believe that the risk factors should be made by personal doctors and patients, not public health bureaucrats issuing mandates that infringe upon personal health decisions.
The legal protection of vaccine companies through “liability shields” and state immunity compounds this moral and legal breach, violating individual rights and undermining democratic accountability.
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