Virus Outbreak-Vaccination Messaging

A box encouraging barber shop patrons to submit health questions is displayed at The Shop, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Hyattsville, Md. Barbers are member of the Health Advocates In Reach & Research (HAIR) program, which helps barbers and hair stylists to get certified to talk to community members about health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of certified barbers have been providing factual information to customers about vaccines, a topic that historically has not been trusted by members of black communities because of the health abuse the race has endured over the years. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BALTIMORE — The focus on COVID vaccine hesitancy has ranged from mobile clinics at churches to new pushes by the Biden administration to restrict anti-vaccine content on Facebook and social media.

A new effort is being launched by the Maryland Department of Health and Kaiser Permanente to bring COVID vaccination clinics to barbershops and salons statewide.

The effort focuses on boosting vaccines among Hispanics and African Americans.

The first such effort will be held Friday, July 23, at the Hello Bonita Hair Salon in Baltimore.

MDH reports 58.1% of Maryland’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID.

Nationally, 48.7% of the total U.S. population has received full COVD vaccinations.

There is vaccine hesitancy among Latinos and Blacks as well as Republicans and Trump supporters.

Some of the former groups’ reticence stems from historical distrust of government health systems. That includes the U.S government’s lack of treatment of Black men with syphilis in the infamous Tuskegee Experiment.

Conservative skeptics of COVID vaccines are resistant to government mass vaccination efforts as well as mandates and restrictions.

MDH has previously worked to bring mobile vaccine clinics to African American and Hispanic churches.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has also brought mobile vaccine clinics to the Eastern Shore to reach rural and potentially hesitant residents.

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