Fourteen Minnesota barbershops are participating in a national program called “Shots at the Shop”, which is seeking to increase COVID vaccination rates in the black community. The campaign is “a White House-led effort that is working with 1,000 barbershops and beauty salons across the country.” Some of the barbershops are even offering the COVID vaccine on-site, including one Minneapolis shop.
According to WCCO, “The initiative gives a small grant to participating businesses and trains barbers and stylists on how to provide information about the vaccine to their clients.”
WCCO reported that the vaccination rate for black Americans over 12 is just over 50%, which is reportedly lower than the rates for whites and Hispanics. WCCO attributed the lower rate to a measure of mistrust that the black community has for the medical professionals because of “past experimentation on black people.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said in a statement regarding the program, “Anyone can be a strong advocate for these vaccines — whether you’re a doctor advising patients, a sibling talking to a loved one, or a barber cutting your neighbor’s hair.”
The COVID vaccine equity director for Minnesota, Dr. Nathan Chomilo, says “barber shops are places people go to and talk about their lives.”
Also, Chomilo said, “For those who have yet to get their COVID-19 shot, we need to continue to show up with reliable information, address their concerns, and then continue to minimize barriers to getting their shot when they are ready.”
Around 3.3 million Minnesotans have been vaccinated against COVID, out of the population of over 5.6 million, but government officials are saying that it is not enough. As reported by The Minnesota Sun, officials are even bribing citizens to take the vaccine.
“Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced [in May] that residents who get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination before the end of June will be able to select one of nine prizes.”
As reported by The Sun, Hennepin County was also offering $100 in Visa gift cards for those who got the COVID vaccine.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]
Photo “Dr. Nathan Chomilo” by Dr. Nathan Chomilo (via Facebook).