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KMOV: St. Louis County enlists salons, barbershops for 'Sleeves Up STL' vaccine initiative

St. Louis County enlists salons, barbershops for 'Sleeves Up STL' vaccine initiative

July 14, 2021

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page has announced a new COVID-19 vaccination initiative.

The initiative, called "Sleeves Up STL" invites 50 North County beauty salons and barbershops to work with St. Louis County Health Department officials to provide accurate vaccine information with customers. As part of the initiative, the county will provide posters, flyers and other materials for shop owners to use to talk to their clients about getting vaccinated. The Urban League is also donating thousands of masks.

“We know that barber shops and beauty salons are trusted places in many communities – places where people not only take care of their hairstyles, but also discuss current events and issues,” Dr. Page said. “We believe that vaccinations ought to be part of those conversations.”

During a press conference announcing the initiative Wednesday morning, Page was joined by Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones and St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Days.

“Most of us have good relationships with our clients, so it’s more than just business, we’re friends,” said Thomas Higdon, Owner of Mane Coarse Barbershop. “So I feel like if we were the center of outreach for the vaccine, I think it would help a bit.”

Higdon says he already has conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine with his customers and has noticed that some clients are still skeptical about getting it.

Director of Health Promotions and Public Health Research for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, Damon Broadus, says they have specially targeted 50 different salons and barbershops in high concentrations of unvaccinated zip codes in north and south St. Louis County areas. They hope these locations will help customers learn about the COVID-19 vaccine and dispel any myths or misinformation.

"They’ll go through some training, online training, where they’ll get some insight on how to talk with patrons or customers that they have about the vaccine,” said Broadus.

Broadus says businesses that choose to be involved in the Sleeves Up STL initiative may be eligible for financial compensation, but the details are still being worked out.

For Higdon, he wants to see vaccine rates improve before COVID-19 cases worsen for the community.

“I know the vaccine is the best thing for our community, so I wanted to get the word out, I wanted to let everybody know I got it. I’m okay,” said Higdon.

St. Louis County recently issued a health advisory amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the county and in the state. Hospitalizations have risen, especially in southwest Missouri.

The "Sleeve Up STL" initiative kicks off Monday at noon at the Ultimate Cosmetology and Barber Academy on West Florissant.

P.O. Box 410091
Saint Louis, MO 63141
Paid for by Page for Missouri, Sue Felling, Treasurer

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