Rice University has updated their campus COVID-19 policy on vaccinations from voluntary to mandatory for all employees, unless exempted, per the Biden administration’s federal contractor vaccine mandate.

Since Rice University accepts federal contracts, they must meet the January 4 deadline of having all full-time and part-time employees, including hourly student workers, vaccinated.

Despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting employers from mandating vaccinations, many employers in Texas are choosing to follow the directives of the Biden administration, including Union Pacific, Texas A&M, University of Texas, and the Tarrant County Hospital District.

Currently, 25 Texas legislators, the Republican Party of Texas, and all of Gov. Abbott’s Republican primary challengers—Don Huffines, Allen West, and Chad Prather—are calling for a fourth special session to address the issue of medical freedom.

Although the federal order mandating vaccinations for employees working at private businesses or organizations with 100+ employees is on hold until further action by the federal courts, the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and employees working at facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid remain in effect in Texas.

In Missouri, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction staying the healthcare worker vaccine mandate pending further court action. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt led a 10-state coalition fighting the mandate, and the preliminary injunction applies to all 10 states. However, since Texas did not join this coalition, Texans remain under the auspices of the healthcare worker vaccine mandate.

The Biden administration’s multi-pronged approach to mass vaccination mandates leaves citizens fighting for medical freedom from the federal government and funding both sides of the battle.