BALTIMORE — Hello Bonita Hair Salon on Washington Boulevard in Pigtown offers brows, Brazilians and lashes, but in addition to cutting hair, on this day, it is offering vaccines to cut down on the spread of the delta virus.
“This event is not only essential. It’s critical, because we’re promoting accurate and timely information about the vaccine,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Phylicia Porter, who knows the importance of vaccine equity and the challenges of convincing people here in her district to trust the science, “’Do I feel safe getting the COVID-19 vaccine?’ as you had mentioned, ‘Is it going to protect me against the additional barriers and the additional variants that we know are going to come from the COVID-19 virus?’”
The clinic is using an outreach program called ‘Good Health and Good Hair’ with a track record of reaching Black and Latino people---some of the city’s most vulnerable communities.
“Through this program, Kaiser Permanente partners with local barber shops and salons to provide blood pressure, cancer screenings, flu shots and other services with the produce van that’s parked right there,” said Eddye Bullock of Kaiser Permanente-Baltimore.
But 16 months into the pandemic, this challenge may be unprecedented.
An hour into the clinic, only two people had requested vaccines, despite the urgent effort to deliver them.