Texas Standard For August 19, 2021

The Biden administration recommends booster shots for many vaccinated Americans. We’ll take a look at who’ll get them first, why they’re needed and more of what we know about the latest push on the federal front to fight the spread of the Delta variant. And: What Gov. Greg Abbott has made the center of his own pandemic strategy, and why. Also: A lawsuit that challenges what hospital employers can and can’t mandate. Plus: In our tech segment, Omar Gallaga on what the T-Mobile hack may mean for you. And a state lawmaker pushing for changes in virtual learning statewide. All those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardAugust 19, 2021 9:30 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Vaccine Boosters

Beginning next month, U.S. adults who have received both shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be eligible for a booster dose. The booster will be administered at least eight months after a person’s last dose. Here to help us understand is Dr. Hana Mohammed El Sahly, professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Abbott and Personal Responsibility

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s diagnosis with COVID-19 on Tuesday – following his maskless political event in Collin County the night before – comes as ICU beds in hospitals around the state grow increasingly scarce. As Bret Jaspers of KERA reports, Gov. Abbott has made what he calls “personal responsibility” the hallmark of his pandemic strategy since removing the statewide mask mandate in March.

Afghan Interpreter

In the wake of the U.S. departure from Afghanistan, efforts continue to try to rescue Afghans who helped the U.S. during its nearly 20-year war. Andrew Schneider of Houston Public Media has the story of one interpreter on the run from the Taliban and how a Texas veterans’ group is trying to help him.

T-Mobile Hack

Last week, Vice broke the story that the personal information of millions of T-Mobile customers was stolen in a data breach including phone numbers, social security numbers, addresses and driver’s license data. Wednesday, the cell carrier confirmed that data belonging to 50 million customers and prospective customers had been stolen. Our tech expert Omar Gallaga is here to help us understand what happened and what you can do about it.

San Antonio Air Quality

Earlier this week, San Antonio’s air quality was downgraded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The city’s been out of compliance for years, and now, San Antonio may have to pay a hefty price for that. With more, we’re bringing in Steven Nivin, chair of the economics department at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

The Sounds of Texas: Duct Tape Scholarship

As a child, Houston native Larissa Leon loved creating fashion items with duct-tape. Now, 17-year-old Leon is the winner of a $10,000 scholarship for her Mexican-inspired, colorful folkloric dress made entirely out of duct-tape. We’ll hear from her in this show ID.

Virtual Learning State Laws

A lot of Texans were introduced to virtual school for the first time during the pandemic. But while many districts won’t offer virtual school this year, since it’s not currently funded by the state, there are still options. The Texas Virtual School Network has offered a state-funded option for full-time virtual instruction for Texas students for more than a decade. Rep. Ken King, a Republican from the city of Canadian in the Texas panhandle, has been behind some of the legislation surrounding virtual schools. He joins us today.

Methodist Hospital Vaccination Mandate Lawsuit

This spring, Houston Methodist Hospital employees were given a choice: get the COVID-19 vaccine or resign. It was the first hospital in the nation to require the shot for its workers. Now, some former Houston Methodist employees who decided against getting the jab are suing for wrongful termination. To help us break this down from a legal perspective we bring in Samantha Martinez, an employment lawyer based in Houston.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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