HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread across America and in Connecticut, a renewed push is on to get people vaccinated.
On Albany Avenue in the north end of Hartford, there has been a hard push from the governor’s office and lawmakers from inside the community to try to separate fact from fiction about the COVID vaccine. The “COVID street team” is trying to encourage people to get it.
What a better place to start than in a barbershop.
Marcus Brown of Norris Barbershop told News 8, “Here in the barbershop you get into a lot of debates, about sporting events and all kinds of things, and here in the barbershop you have debates about what the vaccine will do to you.”
Brown’s father started Norris Barbershop 57 years ago; it is a pillar in the community and a hub for information.
Brown explained, “It hurts and pulls at your heartstrings when you hear about the stories, people coming in and telling me how they lost people that I personally know, it’s rough. And I think we just need to trust in it.”
Brown has had the shot and he encourages others to get it, too.
Barbara Turner of Hartford said, “As soon as they said “66-years-old,” I was on it! I have grandchildren [so] as soon as they said “12” I was on it. I was hoping they were going to say 8 years old because I have an 8-year-old.”
That’s why Governor Ned Lamont stopped by to support State Representative Brendan McGee and The Department of Public Health and Griffin Health as they knocked on doors letting people know there were free haircuts and food for anyone who gets the vaccine.
Alando Morant of Hartford explained, “I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it because they came knocking on my door.”
State Rep. McGee (D-Hartford) said, “The governor stop by, and other folks are here to push that message especially since our kids are going back in a few weeks or have gone back. Twelve years and older can get vaccinated.”
Paul Mounds, the governor’s chief of staff detailed, “When I was a young child I would get my haircut here at Norris or Kirby‘s. I would get a sausage grinder from Yogi’s. I went to the Artists Collective right up the street there. So this is a community not only that I know well, but we all know well.… And it has to be people that are of the community, that look like the community, speaking to the community.”
These kinds of events aren’t just happening in the north end of Hartford, but also in Bridgeport and New Haven. Communities across Connecticut are trying to get the vaccinated numbers up as the variants continue to spread.
Hartford officials are also pushing for COVID testing ahead of the start of the city’s school year. There will be a testing site on Albany Ave. Thursday afternoon.