Local healthcare leaders respond to Governor’s order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 2:04 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Local healthcare leaders are speaking out in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order Monday banning COVID-19 mandates from every entity in the State of Texas.

“I think, unfortunately, it gives mixed messages,” said Dr. Scott Blattman.

Blattman, President-elect of the McLennan County Medical Society, says he hopes the order won’t affect people’s decision making.

“All these other mandates and rules for or against it are just so much fluff because people choose to be vaccinated because they want to be vaccinated,” said Blattman. “And that’s where I’m hoping people will go, is not to be dependent on or resistant to law or policy, but rather just good common sense about personal health and the wellbeing of their families and the community.”

Blattman says the medical community needs to do a better job of promoting the jab.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have already been established at all three major Waco-area hospitals including Ascension Providence, Waco Family Medicine, and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Hillcrest.

The mandate for BSW Health, which is the largest non-profit healthcare system in Texas, went into effect on Oct. 1, and as of Monday had 98 percent compliance, according to hospital officials.

“We are currently reviewing the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott,” hospital officials told KWTX Tuesday in response to the order.

Blattman said he supports a hospital’s right to choose, along with other industries, what’s best for them.

“The vaccination requirements you might have about working at a certain place or working at a certain sector of the economy is really based on what that sector says you need to do--I’m very much in favor of every part of that trying to improve the total number of vaccinated people in the community,” said Blattman.

Like Blattman, Dr. Tim Martindale, who survived a public battle with COVID-19 in April of 2020, feels medical decisions should be left to medical professionals.

“I don’t think I agree with the governor in either direction, I have mixed feelings about it,” said Martindale, Family Physician at Martindale Family Medicine Clinic. “I don’t personally agree with the mandate, but I don’t like him mandating there be no mandates.”

“I think that should be up to the hospital leaders and the leaders of the scientific community to make that choice, and I don’t think politicians should be able to tell us what we can and can’t do that’s out for the safety of our community,” he said.

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