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(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Monday barring all COVID vaccine mandates in the state by any entity, including private businesses.

Abbott’s move sets him up for a clash with U.S. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who last month called on U.S. employers to require their workers to be vaccinated. Abbott is a Republican.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a written statement announcing his executive order.

Biden’s mandate announcement in September came as his administration struggles to control the pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans. A large swath of the nation’s population have refused to get the jab.

Texas governor bars all vaccine mandates in state

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Texas governor bars all vaccine mandates in state