Hairdressers upset over not being included on COVID-19 vaccination list

U.S.

(NewsNation Now) — Many hairdressers across the country are upset as the COVID-19 vaccination plan does not list them on the current schedule. 

Some are turning to digital petitions, social media, and even calling their state’s governor.

“In order to do our craft, we have to be 12 inches from your face,” said Douglas McCoy, a hairdresser in Spokane, Washington and the owner of The House of Pop.

Summer Campbell works at Fringe Benefits in Little Rock, Arkansas, and agrees it’s been a struggle.

Many salons around the country had to close in March of 2020 as the nation began to fight the coronavirus. Months later, with restrictions in place, some of those beauty shops started to reopen.

“We’ve got something to look forward to, because it was months of doing all of this grueling work that we have to do just in order to do our profession, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel this was just how it is,” said McCoy. “And the vaccine came out and it was like okay, now we’ve got a game plan, now we’ve got something to look forward to.” 

McCoy said he assumed he and his team would be on the vaccine schedule. 

“We opened in our phase one, we opened before restaurants and all of that happened, and so I just figured we were going to be there, and then after a while, it was like, wait, I haven’t heard anything,” he said. “Then the shock and borderline anger came out.”

NewsNation reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a statement on the issue, but it did not specifically mention hairdressers in their release.   

“CDC has general recommendations on who should be vaccinated when there is limited supply available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html.  The essential workers in 1b are those in positions where their work-related duties must be performed on-site and involve being in close proximity (<6 feet) to the public or to coworkers. These were hard decisions to make to ensure that the 1b group was not so large that the essential workers most at risk weren’t reached when vaccine supply is limited.  All other essential workers will be included in phase 1c. While ACIP and CDC make national recommendations, we understand that there will be a level of local adaptation.  The phased vaccine recommendations are meant to be fluid and not restrictive for jurisdictions. 

Decisions regarding transition from one phase to the next should be made at the local, state, or territorial level, and may be based on factors such as demographic and workforce characteristics, COVID-19 epidemiology within the jurisdiction, and vaccine supply and demand within the jurisdiction. Decisions about transitioning to subsequent phases should also depend on supply, demand, equitable vaccine distribution, and local, state, or territorial context.”

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

“I hate that there has to be a first and a last and this group because I definitely understand the importance of some of these groups getting the vaccine first. I just think in order for me to protect my clients who sit in my chair that I touch, I need the vaccine,” said Campbell.

She has been outspoken on social media, as well as reaching out to her state’s governor, and started a Change.org petition.

 “Just to bring awareness to the fact that we were left off, not necessarily to move us up like a different group. I just wanted people to know that we physically touch you, we cannot social distance, and we are not on the list to get the vaccine,” she said.

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