What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

This Cleveland barbershop will give you a haircut, and a COVID-19 vaccine

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden set a goal to have 70 percent of Americans get at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. To get there, states and cities are getting creative in their vaccine distribution. Gabriel Kramer from Ideastream, the PBS station in Cleveland, reports on how the state's small local businesses — like barbershops — are becoming vaccination sites.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Biden set a goal of 70 percent of Americans to have their first COVID-19 vaccine by July 4.

    To get there, states and cities have to be creative in their vaccine distribution.

    As Gabriel Kramer from PBS station ideastream in Cleveland reports, small local businesses like barbershops are stepping up to help.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    Barbershops are, of course, known for haircuts, beard trims, and some friendly verbal jabs.

  • Man:

    You guys got lucky with that.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    But twice this month, Urban Kutz Barbershop on Cleveland's West Side was also a place to get another kind of jab,with a needle. They're offering the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Waverly Willis:

    We are a trusted entity in the community. They know Urban Kutz. They know me.

    Gabriel Kramer Waverly Willis is the owner of Urban Kutz. He has a history of going the extra mile for his customers, free haircuts for the homeless and free blood pressure screenings for any patron, mostly men.

  • Waverly Willis:

    Two or three of the gentleman who left here earlier, they told me that I was the reason that they got the vaccine. And that makes me feel good to know that, essentially, I guess they feel like they're trusting me with their lives.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    So, when the Cleveland Department of Public Health sought to recruit businesses to distribute the vaccine, it's no wonder that Urban Kutz was the first business to opt in.

    Shan Smith did not get a haircut last weekend. He just came to the barbershop to get his shot.

  • Shan Smith:

    I thought about not getting the shot at all, honestly. When I saw that this gentleman here was willing to make this available in his facility to the public, at the very least, I could support him, while helping others at the same time. It's all about community anyway.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    Barbershops aren't the only out-of-the-ordinary locations offering COVID-19 vaccines.

    In Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, the Third Federal Savings And Loan turned its parking lot into a drive-through and walk-up vaccination site. One of the first in line was Third Federal employee Tiffany Watson.

  • Tiffany Watson:

    That's why I came, because I didn't want to have to figure out, when am I going downtown,how I have to park or where am I going, how do I call to get it? So, I figured, while I'm working, I can just go.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    The convenience was intentional, but not just for employees. Anyone was welcome to get shots, which were given by MetroHealth Hospital staff.

  • Brook Watts:

    People work. People have all different life situations and different kinds of barriers. So, again, I think the idea is we need to try all kinds of new things, pull down those barriers and just make sure that folks can make choices that they feel comfortable making.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    Over at the barbershop, the goals were the same, make the vaccine easier to get and provide a comfortable place to get it.

  • Waverly Willis:

    I'm going to continue to use Urban Kutz as a vehicle to help our community out.

  • Gabriel Kramer:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Gabriel Kramer in Cleveland.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Such a great idea, creative, and it takes everybody pitching in.

Listen to this Segment