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As COVID-19 cases rise in Monroe County, barbershop offers vaccines

Mason Lewis Jr. was greeted with cheers when he walked into New Creations Unisex Shop on Jefferson Avenue on Monday.

“They said I was No. 1. That's good to know,” Lewis said.

Lewis was the first person to receive his COVID-19 vaccine at the barbershop, which was participating in the Shots at The Shop initiative. It’s a national outreach geared toward providing fact-based COVID information and the vaccine to communities that were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. 

Lewis said he kept putting off vaccination, but the current spike in cases worried him.

“They said it’s coming back much stronger now,” Lewis said. “I said I better do it before it’s too late.”

Shop owner Willie Lightfoot, who's also City Council vice president, said participating in Shots at the Shop was ultimately about educating his community.

“There are still some people who are very nervous about this,” Lightfoot said, referring to getting the vaccine. “We're just trying to dispel some of those fears.”

On Monday, the Monroe County Public Health Department reported 139 new cases within the past week. That’s roughly a 50% increase from last week’s numbers. Exactly 61% of the county’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 57.8% have been fully vaccinated.

 

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.