NJ barbershop popup site part of push to get Black men vaccinated

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
IRVINGTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy visited a vaccination site at a barbershop in Irvington Friday, part of a push to get underserved communities inoculated against COVID-19.

The N&N Unisex Barbershop on Chancellor Avenue hosted a pop-up site in a community where only 42% of the population has received the shot.

"People don't trust the government enough to give the government their information or believe that the government is doing what they say that they're doing," Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said. "And that's one of the things here in our community that we struggle with."

Murphy had a clip and a conversation, trying to cut down on vaccine hesitancy. The conversation was free wheeling and open.

"We want people to see that it is safe and that it can not only save your life, but it can save a family member's life as well," Vauss said.

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Irvington is one of the 10 municipalities larger than 100,000 residents with less 50% vaccination.

"When you look at the data, people entering the hospital, they're overwhelming unvaccinated," Murphy said.

The governor also held a round-table discussion with Vauss and shop owner Hugea Newman and local leaders on how to boost confidence in the vaccine among Black men.

Among those participating were New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges, Essex County Board of Commissioners President Wayne Richardson, and Aide to the Governor Brandon Parrish.

The vaccine clinic was set up just outside the barbershop, and residents were signing up for the shot.

"A lot of people dying from it, getting sick," recipient Aleia Edwards said. "So I'm like, I might as well, I'm around people every day."

Meanwhile, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the COVID positivity rate in New Jersey has dropped below 1%.
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Naveen Dhaliwal has more on New Jersey's progress to vaccinate residents and the dropping COVID positivity rate.

The owners of a New Jersey eatery named Emma Bistro, is calling the news a "blessing."

"The positivity rate has gone down, has been a huge blessing for everybody," Danilo Lavia.

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It was an ordeal that played out with just tweets from officials, but made real when they posted a photo and video of the vessel and its bow with nothing under it.

Murphy also stopped by PT Just Jerk for some delicious chicken and talked about the importance of getting more people immunized in places where trust is low and fear is high.

"We knew the equity piece would be the hardest," he said. "So our overall momentum is strong, probably as strong as any American state. But our challenge to address the inequity, including in vaccination, is a work in progress."

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