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5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, Jan. 15

Here are things to know for Friday, Jan. 15:

1. Vaccines to stimulus checks: Here’s what’s in Biden plan

President-elect Joe Biden is proposing a $1.9 trillion plan to expand coronavirus vaccinations, help individuals and jump-start the economy. The plan, which would require congressional approval, is packed with proposals on health care, education, labor and cybersecurity. Here’s a look at what’s in it:

CONTAINING THE VIRUS

— A $20 billion national program would establish community vaccination centers across the U.S. and send mobile units to remote communities. Medicaid patients would have their costs covered by the federal government, and the administration says it will take steps to ensure all people in the U.S. can receive the vaccine for free, regardless of their immigration status.

INDIVIDUALS AND WORKERS

— Stimulus checks of $1,400 per person in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December. By bringing payments to $2,000 — an amount Democrats previously called for — the administration says it will help families meet basic needs and support local businesses.

Read more.

2. Need financial help as the pandemic continues? Here’s how to get assistance to avoid homelessness, Texans

There’s a new source of help for people facing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has announced more than $61 million has been awarded to approximately 50 organizations statewide to assist people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.

Here’s where to start the three-step process to apply for the help.

Read more.

3. Group pushes for teachers to get coronavirus vaccine

A national group of education leaders wants school workers to be a higher priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Chiefs for Change is calling on federal and state officials to release all doses of the vaccine right away and make all teachers and school staff eligible for vaccination now.

“We see this as critical, not just to schools, but to communities,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee.

The move could help students get back to school faster, he said.

Read more.

4. Texas ranks near the bottom in distribution of vaccine per 100 people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks Texas 48th out of 50 States when it comes to the number of vaccines distributed per 100 people.

“That’s really disturbing,” said Vivian Ho, a health economist with Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine. “I can’t think of any reason why we should not be receiving vaccines in proportion to our population.”

Texas distributes 7.26 doses for every 100 people, according to the CDC data.

“You would want to compare Texas to California and New York,” Ho said. “If they’re close to us, then it has to do with a size issue, but if they’re receiving many more vaccines then this is outrageous.”

Read more.

5. ‘We get it’: Houston Methodist CEO addresses frustrations over vaccine distribution

Houston Methodist is holding a clinic this weekend, but it is only open to patients of the hospital system.

Similar “invitation only” clinics have been rolled out by other hospitals in the Houston area, and that has led to claims of inequity in how the vaccine is being distributed.

“We get it,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO of Houston Methodist. “We understand why people are frustrated. Everyone wants to be vaccinated now.”

Boom said those 75 and older who were invited to participate in this weekend’s clinic represent people in every ZIP code in Houston.

Read more.


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