Psaki slams Abbott’s anti-vax executive order: ‘Against all public health information and data out there’

White House says Texas and Florida governors have put politics over fighting pandemic

John Bowden
Washington DC
Tuesday 12 October 2021 21:51 BST
Psaki slams Abbott’s anti-vaxx executive order: ‘Against all public health information and data out there’
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticised Texas Gov Greg Abbott and other GOP leaders who have opposed the president’s executive order instituting Covid-19 vaccination mandates for many businesses and others,

From behind the White House podium, Ms Psaki directly accused Mr Abbott of putting politics ahead of the health of his own state’s residents with his executive order banning private companies from enforcing vaccination mandates in Texas.

“I think it's pretty clear when you make a choice that's against all public health information and data out there, that it's not based on what is in the interests of the people you are governing, it is perhaps in the interest of your own politics,” she asserted on Tuesday.

Ms Psaki went on to say that the moves by Mr Abbott and Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, who has threatened to punish cities and municipalities that enforce vaccination mandates, "fit a familiar pattern" of "putting politics ahead of public health".

The White House remained firm during the Tuesday press conference on pushing full steam ahead with the president’s plan to require every company with 100 or more employees to have employees be vaccinated or take regular Covid-19 tests; the plan has been heavily criticised by Republicans who for months have resisted most enforceable public health initiatives to combat the virus ranging from mask mandates to shutdowns of nonessential businesses.

The US remains the country with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths, and the Delta variant continues to rage across the nation, particularly in areas where vaccination rates are lower than the national average.

Texas is seeing its rate of new Covid-19 cases drop after a surge over September returned the state to high rates of infection not seen since the first major surge over the winter of 2020-2021.

Mr Abbott has attempted to toe a thin line on the issue of vaccines, which he has vehemently refused to mandate among Texans while also strongly encouraging them as the state faced some of the worst rates of Covid-19 in the nation.

“[V]accines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but must always be voluntary for Texans,” said the governor on Monday.

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