President Joe Biden laid out his “National Month of Action” plan Wednesday afternoon, hoping to get more people in the U.S. vaccinated.
The plan includes efforts to recruit faith-based leaders, barbershop owners and celebrities. Biden also announced a new initiative called “Shots at the Shop” engaging Black-owned salons and barbershops to educate and vaccinate minorities in areas with low vaccination rates.
J. Henry has been cutting hair for more than 40 years in this Orlando community. He owns J. Henry’s Barbershop in the Parramore area and said he feels a sense of responsibility when it comes to educating his clients.
“We are somewhat role models. A lot of people follow and trust and believe in the things their hairdresser or barber gets into,” Henry said.
Biden said he is counting on people like Henry to help vaccinate the Black community. His new initiative ‘Shots at the Shop,’ gets stylists and barbers involved.
“Local barbers and stylists become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities offering information to customers, booking appointments for them, even using their own businesses as vaccination sites,” Biden said. “In the spirit of meeting people where they are we’ll also be working with the Black Coalition Against COVID.”
Henry is vaccinated and said through barbershop talk, he hears why some of his clients haven’t gotten the shot.
“Lack of education and lack of faith in the system,” Henry said.
The latest data from the Florida health department shows out of the more than ten million people in the state who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, only about seven percent are Black.
Henry said barbershops and salons are the perfect places for vaccine outreach in the Black community.
“People have a place to come and get educated and potentially getting their shots right here in a barbershop. I think that’ll be a great benefit to the community,” Henry said.
Henry said no one has reached out to him yet about hosting a vaccination event at his shop, but said he’s willing to open his shop seven days a week and work with health providers to get more people vaccinated.