President Biden wants 70 percent of Americans to have at least one shot by July 4.By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Joe Biden wants to partner with Black barbershops to encourage African Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Barbershops in Black communities have historically been neighborhood centers. That is true here in Pittsburgh.

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Bat’s Barbershop in East Liberty is one of several area barbershops that have already had health care outreach to Black men. The shop has teamed with the University of Pittsburgh to encourage men to get checked for high blood pressure and prostate cancer.

Isaiah Jefferson was opposed to getting the shot. But after getting infected with COVID-19, he changed his mind. However, he understands why other African Americans are hesitant.

“When it comes to medications or anything that’s new, to be honest, that’s always a reluctance within the Black community because of history,” Jefferson said.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

A history that subjected African Americans to untested, experimental drugs. At Big Tom’s Barbershop in the Hill District, owner Thomas Boyd has already signed up to be part of Biden’s outreach program. But he knows he won’t convince everyone.

“Some people are really against it, and I don’t want to be the one pushing it on people. But I would like to participate in that program to bring awareness to it,” Boyd said.

There’s already been some outreach in the Black community to get people vaccinated. Back at Bat’s, they believe the barbershop is the right place to get shots in the arms of African Americans.

“This is the cornerstone of the community. So why not use us? They trust us. It’s a comfortable environment for everyone who comes in here,” said Kevin Andrews of Bat’s Barbershop.

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President Biden wants 70 percent of Americans to have at least one shot by July 4.