White House asks Black-owned barbershop and beauty salons for help with vaccine push

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new plan to fight against vaccine hesitancy could involve your barber and hairstylist.

The White House plans to ask 1,000 Black-owned barbershop and beauty salons to help get their clients vaccinated against the COVID-19.

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Why turn to the black-owned beauty industry?

The owner of Noir Rose Salon told FOX13 because stylists and barbers are influencers especially when it comes to someone’s appearance.

“I can tell them, and I am very blunt. That is not for you. This is for you” said Kenya Rose who often tells her clients to think about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. “They come in here and say I am vaccinated and I am like good.”

Rose and her Noir Rose Salon is the type of beauty salon owner the White House wants.

The Biden administration is teaming up with the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and popular SheaMoisture beauty product to launch “Shots at the Shop.” The initiative will engage a select number of black own barbershops and beauty salons across the country to support vaccine education and outreach in areas where vaccination rates are low.

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According to the data from the Shelby County Public Health Department, 35 percent of vaccines have gone to African Americans but there are still Black neighborhoods where the inoculation rate is low.

Rose told FOX13, “some people are hesitant because they don’t know what’s in the vaccine. They don’t know how it will react to their bodies.”

Answers to those questions will be provided in education displays and pamphlets the salons can give to customers if selected by the White House.

“If I can read it and it has somebody’s information and website on it that I can say fact check here then I think more people will do,” said Rose.

This White House project is supposed to start this month.

FOX13 has also learned the City of Memphis plans to launch a similar but smaller next month.

The city may even set up a mobile vaccination site at those salons and shops eager to participate, have a lot of customers, and are in zip codes where the vaccination rate is low.