When Gov. Greg Abbott reissued an executive order prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates by public entities in Texas, he made a small change that could have big implications.
The original ban on vaccine requirements and “passports” was directed at any vaccine authorized for “emergency use.” With the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23, that rationale vanished and the Pfizer vaccine had the same status as other standard immunizations for diseases like measles and whooping cough.
The governor’s new prohibition simply targets the COVID vaccines, whether approved fully or on an emergency basis, and could make it harder to bring the pandemic under control. And it enshrines a serious challenge to the very possibility that we might think of ourselves as part of a society, with mutual responsibilities as well as individual rights.
It is tempting for critics of the governor to see in the