HOUSTON, Texas — Doctors from around the state are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to reverse his ban on vaccine mandates in Texas.
The new executive order, issued Monday, prevents businesses from requiring their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and doctors say that’s only going to make the virus even more dangerous.
Inside Texas hospitals, war wages on in the battle against COVID-19. But some doctors inside those hospitals say they’re now battling a new enemy - a new executive order by Gov. Abbott that overrides a hospital’s ability to mandate vaccines for its employees.
“Vaccine requirements are nothing new for healthcare workers," Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialist in Austin Dr. Joanna Schwartz said. "A ban on COVID vaccine mandates is purely political and not based in science.”
Friday, three doctors from across the state spoke up, pleading with the governor to take back that motion.
“Governor Abbott is threatening to punish employers that implement vaccine requirements," Neurologist in Houston Dr. Audrey Nath said.
“We must raise the question whether these politicians are serious about protecting children and vulnerable populations," Internist in Dallas Dr. Keith Marton said.
They say the stakes are already high, but get even higher without a vaccine mandate.
“An unvaccinated healthcare worker who has a chance of bringing the virus into a healthcare setting has then a great chance of infecting patients, even some who might have been vaccinated in the past," Dr. Marton said.
Gov. Abbott has said, "the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced."
But these doctors don’t believe that applies to all situations.
“People don’t always make the best decision. A lot of people are fueled by misinformation that’s available on the internet and social media," Dr. Schwartz said.
The maximum penalty for any hospital or business that defies the order is $1,000 - a price these doctors think hospitals should pay.
“From an ethical perspective, for patient care, absolutely," Dr. Nath said.