Black hair salons help spread COVID-19 vaccine information

COLUMBIA - Life lessons are often taught in Black beauty salons, but now one salon owner is trying to pass along life saving information.

Fran Tibbs is the owner of "Me, My Hair & I," a hair salon in Columbia, and is a member of the Columbia NAACP executive board.

"I think that the barber shops and the hair salons are a good outlet to get information out to people," Tibbs said.

In Missouri, Black Americans are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at a lower rate than other populations. Tibbs, along with the NAACP, is trying to fix this.

"We are calling people where the vaccines are being held and then we are notifying people and calling those people in our beauty shops and to our churches," Mary Ratliff, President of the Columbia NAACP, said.

Ratliff said the goals to make sure people who don't have internet access or are homebound receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

Both Tibbs and Ratliff want to increase the number of Black people receiving vaccines regardless of the channel of communication.

"If you have a church that has 100 members, you're talking about the possibility of reaching 500. Because they have family members, they have children, grandchildren," Ratliff said. "So that's where you're going to be."

If someone doesn't have internet access or access to a computer to register through the Missouri Vaccine Navigator, they can call 877-435-8411. The hotline is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday to help people register.

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