Parson issues executive order on federal vaccine mandate to protect an individual’s religious objection, medical restriction

(The Center Square) – Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday issued an executive order prohibiting Missouri’s executive branch from compelling or penalizing anyone to comply with any federal mandates for the COVID-19 vaccination if individuals have a religious objection or a medical restriction.

The executive order stated federal vaccine mandates “pose a significant risk to our state economy and workforce, and jeopardize public health by increasing vaccine hesitancy.”

In a news release, Parson said President Joseph Biden’s vaccine mandates circumvent legislative processes.

“In the State of Missouri, public health decisions are left to the people to either make their own personal decisions or speak through their elected representatives in the General Assembly,” the governor said. “The Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates undermine and deny Missourians’ their right to make personal health decisions and to speak through their elected representatives.”

Parson ordered all agencies, boards, commissions and other entities within the executive branch of state government to refrain from compelling or penalizing anyone to comply with a federal vaccine mandate if an individual objects for religious or medical reasons. He also ordered all executive branch entities to cooperate with Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt in litigation on behalf of the state for any federally imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate or requirement.

On Wednesday, Schmitt announced he would file suit to halt the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and federally contracted employees.

“My Office will file a lawsuit to halt this mandate on federal contractors by the end of the week, and stand ready, willing, and able to file suit against the employer vaccine mandate when OSHA publishes their forthcoming rule,” Schmitt said in a statement.

Missouri’s completed vaccination rate is 49.3% and 55.2% initiated vaccination, ranking it 43rd in the U.S. Parson emphasized the order doesn’t conflict with the necessity for vaccinations.

“Let me be clear, we continue to encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated,” he said. “We can support vaccination without supporting mandates. We are issuing this order to protect our system of government and the individual rights of Missourians to make their own health care decisions.”

Featured Photo by Joe Mueller | The Center Square

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