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Does the FDA approval of Pfizer's vaccine mean they can be mandated in Texas?

Gov. Abbott's order bans state agencies, local governments and public schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines that are given under emergency use authorization.

AUSTIN, Texas — The FDA's approval of the Pfizer vaccine is causing some to question whether Texas employers could mandate COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of Gov. Greg Abbott's latest executive order.

The order bans state agencies, local governments and public schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines that are given under emergency use authorization. So, in theory, the order no longer applies to the Pfizer vaccine now that it's fully approved for people ages 16 and older. 

"I think, in terms of state agencies, that might be a loophole. They'll certainly try and get a judge to see if they buy that. Of course, the governor could just amend his order very quickly to take away that loophole, if that's all they're relying on," said Gary Britt, a business lawyer in Austin.   

Meanwhile, some private employers are already requiring vaccines. 

Britt, however, warned against employers from requiring workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

"You start doing that and you're opening the door to get sued one way or the other," said Britt. "Plus, then you also have to do medical ADA and religious exceptions to your mandate in order to not get sued under federal law for violating one of those things. So it's a can of worms no matter what."

KVUE reached out to the governor's office for a response but have yet to hear back.

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