St. Louis Health Officials to Distribute Coronavirus Vaccines at Black Barbershops and Beauty Salons

Kamikaze Kutz barber shop owner and operator Michelle Ross cuts a customer’s hair. She said giving people the COVID-19 vaccine at salons and barber shops could be an effective way to boost vaccination efforts in Black neighborhoods. (St. Louis Public Radio)

Barber and beauty shops in Black St. Louis neighborhoods will soon play a key role in the push to persuade more people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Shots at the Shop, a national initiative of the Biden administration, will ask barbers and beauticians to help inform people in their communities that the vaccine can save lives. St. Louis health officials will hold vaccination events at participating businesses, said Dr. Fred Echols, the city’s acting health director.

“The goal is to make sure as many people in our jurisdictions are aware of the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, and the role that vaccines can play in just saving lives,” Echols said.

Barbershop owners will complete training sessions and receive marketing materials and fact sheets about the virus and the vaccine to display in their shops. Shops will then be eligible to hold vaccination clinics, at which medical personnel will administer the shots, Echols said.

Interested barber and beauty shops can register through the department, which plans to enlist at least 10 shops for vaccination events. Up to 1,000 shops across the country will receive a $1,000 grant from the natural hair styling company, SheaMoisture.

The Biden administration also is working with the Black Coalition Against COVID and the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity.

Barbers say it makes sense to partner with barber shops and salons, which are gathering spaces in the community.

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SOURCE: St. Louis Public Radio, Chad Davis