GOP Governors Challenge Pentagon Over Guard Vaccine Mandate

Syringes loaded with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lie ready for use by a nurse, in Jackson, Miss., on Sept. 21, 2021. The Food and Drug Administration has paved the way for children ages 5 to 11 to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The agency authorized the kid-size doses on Friday, Oct. 29. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(AP) — Texas’ Republican governor has told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that the state will not direct its National Guard members to comply with a Biden administration order requiring all members of the military to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s rejection of the order Thursday reflects growing Republican opposition to it. It comes after five other GOP governors sent Austin a milder letter this week urging him to reconsider the requirements for Guard members on state active duty, when they are under their governor’s orders but still funded by the federal government.

Abbott told the Texas National Guard in October that its more than 20,000 members were covered by his executive orders banning any governmental entity from imposing vaccine mandates.

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