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Health Officials Look To Black-owned Barbershops and Salons To Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations

To combat the spread of COVID-19 in the black community, health officials are now reaching out to unlikely places: the beauty and grooming industries. Jacqueline Howard at CNN explains in a new article how these intimate spaces may effectively bridge a gap between the community and healthcare.

Jesse Costa/WBUR

It’s an effort to expand access to coronavirus vaccines: provide shots at the barber shop. As part of a White House initiative, the National Association of County and City Health Officials is is planning to help train Black-owned barber shops and hair salons to provide accurate vaccination information and even provide vaccines where possible, Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of NACCHO, told CNN on Wednesday.

The Biden administration said Wednesday it is teaming up with several organizations — the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and the SheaMoisture company — to launch an initiative called “Shots at the Shop” to engage Black-owned barber shops and beauty salons nationwide in efforts to promote vaccine education and outreach on a local level. The White House said throughout the month of June, each participating shop will help share information about vaccines with customers, display educational materials, and some will even host on-site vaccination events in partnership with local providers.

Jesse Costa/WBUR

Months into the nation’s vaccine rollout, federal data have shown that Black Americans’ Covid-19 vaccination rates are still lagging behind those of other groups.

“The role that NACCHO’s going to play is trying to match barber shops and beauty shops with local health departments, so that we can forge a relationship there and figure out if any of these business locations can also become vaccination sites or what it would take for that to happen,” Freeman said.

Read the rest of the article on CNN here.

Vanessa Roberson

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