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'Deeply disappointed' | Houston Methodist will continue vaccine mandate despite Gov. Abbott's ban

"As the first hospital system in the country to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees and physicians, we are deeply disappointed in the governor's order."

HOUSTON — Houston Methodist hangs its hat on being the "first hospital system in the country to require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees."

So, when Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning such mandates, the hospital system responded with a statement saying its employees are 100% compliant with the policy in place.

"As the first hospital system in the country to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees and physicians, we are deeply disappointed in the governor's order that tries to prohibit such mandates," Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom said. "We are proud of our employees and physicians, who are 100% compliant with our vaccine policy."

Boom went on to say that since Houston Methodist's policy was put in place before the executive order was issued, there would be no impact on the hospital system.

"We are grateful we mandated the vaccine early so the order will not have an immediate impact on us," Boom said. "We are reviewing the order now and its possible implications."

Boom expressed concern for other hospital systems that may not be able to continue mandates.

"Health care workers all have an obligation to safely care for their patients and this order makes that promise harder," Boom said. "We expect all of our employees and physicians to be vaccinated as we must continue doing everything possible to keep all our patients and each other as safe as possible until this pandemic is over."

The executive order

Abbott issued the executive order on Monday. It bans COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any entity in Texas.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott issues executive order that bans vaccine mandates by 'all entities' in Texas

"... No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or 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," the order states.

Abbott said that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective but it "should remain voluntary and never forced."

Federal vaccine requirement

President Joe Biden announced new federal vaccine requirements last month affecting as many as 100 million working Americans -- all employers with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or test weekly for the virus.

RELATED: President Biden announces new vaccine mandates affecting 100 million Americans

On top of that, the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden also signed an executive order to require vaccination for federal employees and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

Abbott called Biden's action "federal overreach" and accused the administration of "bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the COVID- 19 disaster."

Abbott said his ban would protect Texans who "fear losing their livelihoods because they object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination for reasons of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."