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UT Austin no longer plans to comply with vaccine mandate for federal contractors after ruling

The university said the injunction has led leaders to lift the requirement.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This article was published on Dec. 7 before a federal judge blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the vaccine mandate for employees of federal contractors.

The University of Texas at Austin said it no longer plans to comply with President Joe Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, after a federal judge halted the mandate, according to KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman. 

In a statement published Wednesday following the ruling, UT said the "legal authority compelling the university to require vaccination" was not valid anymore following the ruling.

The university added that with the injunction, Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order on vaccine requirements stands, which prohibits the university from requiring vaccinations and masks in buildings.

President Biden's mandate is at odds with Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that bans all public and private entities in Texas from requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

In September, the president signed an executive order mandating that employees working on or in connection with a federal contract must be fully vaccinated. The order applies to new contracts as of Nov. 14 or renewed contracts as of Oct. 15. The deadline to comply is Jan. 18.

UT Spokesperson Eliska Padilla told the Statesman before the ruling that the university has 158 active federal contracts, and affected employees will be required to comply with the mandate when the university agrees to a contract modification or when it receives a new contract.

Padilla previously said the mandate would not apply to all employees, but UT is unable to provide the total number of people who will have to comply because officials are determining who is covered on a case-by-case basis. 

Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Gov. Abbott, criticized President Biden's order in a statement sent to the Statesman on Friday. 

"Governor Abbott continues hearing from countless Texans who are worried about losing their jobs because of this federal overreach," Eze said. "With both OSHA and CMS’s vaccine mandates recently halted in Texas, it’s clear that the courts agree that the Biden Administration is overstepping their constitutional authority and attempting to trample Americans’ right to choose for themselves whether to get vaccinated."

Read the Statesman's full report.

WATCH: Will booster shots be included in vaccine mandates?


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