Biden turning to Black-owned barbershops for vaccine outreach

President Biden is turning to Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons as part of his administration’s vaccination outreach effort as he strives to reach his Fourth of July goal to get Americans vaccinated.

The president announced the “Shots at the Shop” initiative during Wednesday remarks, which will recruit barbershops and salons to mobilize their communities to get vaccinations throughout June.

Participating barbershops and salons are expected to provide and display vaccine information and educational materials, as well as host vaccination events with assistance from local partners. 

The president set a target to have 70 percent of American adults receive at least one dose of a vaccine by Independence Day. About 18.5 million people still need to get vaccinated with their first dose in order to reach the goal.  

The administration is working with the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and SheaMoisture to initiate the new effort.  

“The ‘Shots at the Shop’ initiative will invite participation from across the country, with a particular focus on supporting shops in some of the hardest-hit localities still experiencing significant gaps in vaccination rates,” a fact sheet from the White House said. 

The initiative came as Biden declared June as a “national month of action” to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 as the Fourth of July deadline approaches. 

About a month away, 62.8 percent of the U.S.’s adult population has gotten at least one dose, with 51.7 percent being fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data

Although a majority of Americans have received their shots, the percentage of vaccinated people varies across the country, with the Southeast lagging behind and some Northeastern states approaching two-thirds vaccinated. 

Vaccinations have dwindled in recent weeks as experts say the most enthusiastic recipients have already gotten their shots, dropping from a daily average of 3 million per day in April to about 1.23 million per day on Tuesday.

The Biden administration has prioritized improving access and removing obstacles to the vaccine in the hopes of boosting those numbers, particularly in minority communities. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation said last week that Black and Hispanic people have received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their disproportionate number of cases and their total population. 

—Updated at 5:28 p.m.

Tags Barber barbershops beauty salons Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine Joe Biden Pandemic salons Vaccine

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