TEXAS, USA — Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order GA-40 Monday stating that "no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."
At the same time, federal rules requiring some employers to mandate vaccines could be out as soon as next week.
Local health providers ,such as Ascension Providence and Baylor Scott and White, already have vaccine mandates in place. Baylor Scott and White told 6 News Wednesday morning it is reviewing the executive order.
So will hospital systems be forced to reverse their mandates? Not exactly.
GA-40 states that entities will be fined if they don't comply. The order states, "The maximum fine allowed under Section 418.173 of the Texas Government Code and the State’ s emergency management plan shall apply to any 'failure to comply with' this executive order. Confinement in jail is not an available penalty for violating this executive order."
The maximum fine allowed under that statute: $1,000.
Under "Sec. 418.173. PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN," the statute state the following:
(b) The plan may prescribe a punishment for the offense but may not prescribe a fine that exceeds $1,000 or confinement in jail for a term that exceeds 180 days.
It remains to be seen whether that penalty will mean a change of plans for local health care providers or not.