President Joe Biden wants to partner with Black barbershops to encourage African Americans to get vaccinated.
- Barbershops, beauty shops are hubs of activity information in Black and Brown communities, particularly local barbers, stylist. They become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities.
- Shots at the shops on Black owned barbershops in our area say they are excited to be part of a national program to encourage covid-19 vaccinations. And while there is some reluctance to get vaccinated in those communities, Paul Martino tells us barbershops are a place of trust.
- Bat's barbershop here in East Liberty has already been involved with health care outreach to African-American males. They teamed up with the University of Pittsburgh to encourage guys to get checked for high blood pressure, and prostate cancer, and other ailments. And they welcome the chance to encourage the vaccine too.
At Bat's barbershop in East Liberty, there's a deep divide over whether or not you should get the vaccine.
- Some people are scared of it, some people like it. Some people for it and some way.
- Isaiah Jefferson was opposed to getting the shot. But after getting infected with COVID, he's changed his mind. However, he understands why other African-Americans are anti-vax.
- When it comes to medications or you know, anything that's new, to be honest, I think that's always a reluctance within the Black community when it comes to Black people or it's because of history.
- A history that subjected African-Americans to untested experimental drugs. At Big Tom's barbershop in the Hill District, owner Thomas Boyd has already signed up to be part of Biden's outreach program. But he knows he won't convince everyone.
- And some people are really against it, and I don't want to be the one pushing it on people. But I would like you know, to participate in that program I guess, to just bring awareness to it.
- There's already been some outreach in the Black community to get people vaccinated. Back at Bat's, they believe the barbershop is the right place to get shots in the arms of African-Americans.
- This is the cornerstone of the community, so you know, why not use us? I mean, they trust us. It's a comfortable environment for everybody who comes in here. So I think it's more.
- Getting this eradicated, and something that we don't have to deal with anymore.
- President Biden won 70% of Americans to have at least one shot by the 4th of July. Bat's Barber and Big Tom's could help in that effort. In East Liberty, Paul Martino, KDKA News.