Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, issued an executive order Monday banning any mandate for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination from any entity, including private companies.
The Republican move puts him on a trajectory of confrontation with U.S. President Joe Biden, Democrat, who last month called on all employers in the country to demand that their employees be vaccinated.
Announcing the issuance of the executive order, Mr Abbott acknowledged that the COVID-19 vaccine was "safe, effective, and our best defense" against the new coronavirus, but added that vaccination "should remain voluntary" should not be to become "never forced".
Mr Biden issued the warning in September as his government struggled to contain the pandemic, as much of the population refused to be vaccinated.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic on the planet, with nearly 714,000 Americans succumbing to COVID-19 out of a total of 44.33 million confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2.