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Gov. Greg Abbott says he will not impose another statewide mask mandate, despite COVID-19 cases being on the rise again.
“There will be no mask mandate imposed, and the reasons for that are very clear,” Abbott told KPRC-TV in Houston on Tuesday. “There are so many people who have immunities to COVID, whether it be through the vaccination, whether it be through their own exposure and their recovery from it, which would be acquired immunity.”
It would be “inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask,” Abbott said.
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?
People ages 5-17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People ages 18 and older are eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, which are now preferred over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective?
All vaccines in the United States must go through three phases of clinical trials to make sure they are safe and effective. During the development of COVID-19 vaccines, phases overlapped to speed up the process, but all phases were completed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State data shows that unvaccinated Texans made up 85% of coronavirus cases and deaths from Jan. 15 to Oct. 1, 2021.
Should I still get the vaccine if I've had COVID-19?
Yes. Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after recovering from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and vaccination will boost protection.
If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas?
Most chain pharmacies and many independent ones have a ready supply of the vaccine, and many private doctors' offices also have it. Texas has compiled other options for finding vaccine appointments here, and businesses or civic organizations can set up vaccine clinics to offer it to employees, visitors, customers or members. The vaccine is free, and you don’t need health insurance to get it.
Who can get a COVID-19 booster shot?
The protection the vaccine offers can wane over time, so medical experts recommend getting a booster shot. People ages 18 and older are eligible for booster shots, according to recommendations from the CDC. Recipients ages 12-17 who received the Pfizer vaccine as their initial two-dose treatment are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine as their booster.
More answers here.
During a news conference Wednesday in Houston, Abbott went further and expressed blanket resistance to any new restrictions to fight the virus. He said Texas is “past the time of government mandates” and “into the time for personal responsibility.”
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors in most settings, the World Health Organization is still encouraging everyone to wear masks while inside.
As the delta variant has spread, some key pandemic indicators have increased in Texas. Late last week, the state’s positivity rate — the ratio of cases to tests — went above 10% for the first time since February, a threshold that Abbott has previously identified as dangerous.
As of Sunday, 43% of Texans were fully vaccinated.
Abbott lifted the statewide mask requirement in March. The mandate had been in place since summer of last year.
Two months later, he announced he was banning government entities — including public schools — from mandating masks. Abbott reiterated Tuesday that Texas schoolchildren will not face mask requirements as they return to school later this summer.
“Kids will not be forced by government or by schools to wear masks in school,” Abbott said. “They can by parental choice wear a mask, but there will be no government mandate requiring masks.”
Correction, July 21, 2021: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date when the state’s rate of positive coronavirus tests went above 10% for the first time since February. The Department of State Health Services originally reported that the positivity rate exceeded 10% on Saturday, not Sunday as this story previously misstated, and later adjusted its data to indicate that the positivity rate exceeded 10% earlier than Saturday.