With COVID and its Delta variant spreading in Missouri, St. Louis is aiming to bring vaccines to Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons through the "Shots at the Shop" program.
Around 44 percent of the state's population has initiated vaccination, but only 28 percent of Missouri's Black residents have gotten at least one shot, according to the state's vaccine dashboard. The disparity persists nationwide, and health experts are urging governments to reach people who might not be interested in participating in large vaccine events.
That's where Shots at the Shop comes in. Announced earlier this month by the Biden administration, the program is a collaboration between the White House, the Black Coalition Against COVID, SheaMoisture, and the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity.
"St. Louis is ready to plug into this exciting national program to help more residents get vaccinated," Dr. Frederick Echols, acting director for the City of St. Louis, said in a press release. “I encourage interested businesses to reach out to the Department of Health to be a part of this opportunity.”Nationwide, the initiative aims to reach at least 1,000 Black-owned businesses: Those that qualify will receive $1,000 grants from SheaMoisture and host an on-site vaccination clinic "in partnership with local providers," the White House said in a news release.
On Friday, St. Louis City announced that the Department of Health will reach out to local barbershops and salons "to assess interest and availability" — though businesses themselves can reach out to the city at 314-657-1498. Businesses can also register online through the SheaMoisture Fund.
"Over 70 percent of new COVID-19 vaccinations in the past month have been in Black communities,” Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said in a Friday news release announcing the city's backing of the Shots at the Shop program.
Her statement continued, “My administration is working diligently to reach unvaccinated residents where they are at and getting hesitant St. Louisans vaccinated in places they feel comfortable.”
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