A Texas college of medicine has enforced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for its students, faculty, and staff, sparking concerns over diminishing health freedom within the state. Despite the Texas governor’s opposition to COVID-19-related restrictions, publicly funded institutions can still enforce vaccine mandates. In response to public pressure and calls for a special session to vote on the COVID-19 Vaccine Freedom Act, the Texas governor announced plans to prohibit COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers in Texas. This legislative process commenced on Monday, October 9. Social media users are celebrating the governor’s move towards ending vaccine mandates.
Risk level: MediumRecommendation: Social media users and government officials who advocate against vaccine mandates may present a narrative that vaccine mandates are motivated by authoritarianism rather than public health concerns. This may promote vaccine hesitancy. While questions about vaccine mandates may not arise in a clinical setting, it is recommended doctors in Texas be prepared for questions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, which reduce the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization, death, and long COVID.