Hair bar thrive in Ballston is hosting a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic this Saturday (October 23).
The clinic is in partnership with the Arlington County Public Health Division and is part of the “Hits at the store“Initiative, a Effort supported by the White House to recruit black-owned hair salons and barbershops to help increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in the community.
The program trains barbers and stylists to dispel myths and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as a $ 1,000 grant from beauty care brand SheaMoisture.
“We’ve seen COVID-19 vaccination rates lag behind in black, Latin, and other minority communities,” Ajia Minnis, owner and founder of Thrive Hair Bar, said via email to ARLnow, explaining why they host the clinic. “Since the majority of our clients come from these communities, we thought we could be in a good position to help dispel myths, help people feel more comfortable and get more people vaccinated. “
The clinic is open from 10 a.m. to noon and is open to everyone from the age of 12, in accordance with current guidelines. Only Pfizer vaccine will be given. No appointment is necessary and walk-ins are welcome.
Minnis says they actually contacted the county to set up the clinic after taking a class at University of Maryland Center for Health Equity. It was there that she learned about the role salons have historically played in their communities in raising awareness of health issues.
“As a community we have to serve each other and this is our little way of giving back to those who give us so much,” says Minnis. “We not only want to be good neighbors, but we also want to be valuable assets to the communities we love and serve.”
Fifty-nine percent of black residents of Arlington who are eligible are fully immunized, according to Virginia Department of Health data. It’s comparable to Arlington’s white population, but both are lower than the county’s Latin American and Asia / Pacific island populations.
Covid cases in Arlington have fluctuated over the past month, but are currently at just over 25 cases per day, on average, according to data from the Virginia Dept. of Health.
The remains a concern among some healthcare professionals that a fifth wave of Covid could occur among the unvaccinated in winter. This also applies to Minnis and this is another reason why she has decided to run the clinic now, as temperatures start to drop, she says.
Thrive Hair Bar opened in Ballston in August 2020 inside Studios Salon Sola at 1010, chemin N. Glebe. A former professional dancer and choreographer who traveled the world, Minnis opened the store because of her experiences struggling to find a local salon familiar with her hair texture.
“Our goal is not only to give [clients] a hairstyle and they go, it’s really to help educate women on how to maintain their hair and take care of their natural hair, ”Minnis told ARLnow at the time.
She says business ownership has been excellent so far, adding that she really enjoys being in Ballston.
“It has a modern, professional vibe with fantastic people, but there weren’t enough salons that provide twists, braids, and bangs for all hair textures,” Minni said.