CHICAGO (CBS) — Although Chicago is opening up, a lot of people still have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Today, the city took the shot to barbershops to reach people who are hesitant to get the vaccine.
But as CBS 2’s Steven Graves reports, this is an up-hill battle.READ MORE: 4 Dead, 4 Injured After Shooting At Gathering In Englewood
Only about two dozen people got the shot today at the “Vax and Relax” event at It’s Official Barbershop in Englewood, where there were free haircuts with the option of a COVID-19 shot.
It’s slow progress, with a strategy to bring vaccine to places of community and trust.
“The way I look at it is you become a new person every time you get a new haircut,” Ruby Gomez said.
Gomez got her fresh cut for free, all because she also got the vaccine.
“I feel happy,” she said.
She took advantage of this “Vax and Relax” event in Englewood; the new way Chicago leaders are trying to incentivize getting the shot.
“Everything is opening back up. You know, I also don’t want to put everyone else at risk by not taking it. So I’m just excited for things to finally go back to being a little normal,” said Brandon Hurtado, who was among those who got a haircut and a shot on Saturday.
Rhoda Flenor said she needed the vaccine for her job, because she works with seniors.
“So I’m just glad to be down here to finally get it, and I’m wishing that everybody else would too,” she said.
But in Englewood, on the city’s South Side, many Black and Brown people have vaccine skepticism.READ MORE: Suburban Mom's Facebook Was Hacked, And She Was Locked Out, Years Of Memories Disappearing
In North Side zip codes, full vaccinations hover around 50%, compared to only 27% in Englewood.
“They don’t want to get it done. It’s just seemed like it’s just too much. They came up with the vaccination too fast,” It’s Official Barbershop owner Channal Coleman said.
Coleman has become sort of a vaccine advocator by default. She’s gotten the shots herself, and finds that as clients sit down for a haircut, it turns into a discussion over the vaccine.
“A lot of people don’t have people that they can talk to. A lot of people, they don’t have people to confide in. The barbershop is a lot of different stuff. It’s not just the barbershop that cuts hair,” Coleman said.
It’s why the concept is also ramping up nationwide.
Just recently President Joe Biden announced an initiative called “Shots at the Shops,” where Black-owned salons and barbershops sign up to become part of outreach.
It’s with the overall goal of getting 70% of American adults at least one shot by July 4th.
Chicago has the same hope, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot urging young Black people to get vaccinated.
“18- to 24-year-old Black Chicagoans, we need you folks to step up,” Lightfoot said.
But with only about 25 people getting the shot at Saturday’s event, organizers hope the numbers grow in the coming weeks, and taking the vaccine becomes all the buzz.
Meantime, in Chicago, volunteers are also walking door to door neighborhoods with the fewest vaccinations.MORE NEWS: Massive Chemical Plant Fire In Rockton, Illinois, Could Burn For Days
And if you missed this weekend’s “Vax and Relax” event, another one is happening next Saturday in the South Chicago neighborhood, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Josephine’s Jet Set Hair Salon, 8012 S. Crandon Ave.