Should Hairdressers Be Vaccinated Sooner?
Beauty Pros Are Petitioning For COVID Vaccine Eligibility
Hairdressers are pushing for vaccine priority as states begin to announce and expand eligibility requirements. Beauty pros are starting petitions asking state officials to include hairstylists and other cosmetology professions as “essential workers,” allowing them to be vaccinated alongside grocery store and public transit workers.
Stylists “have been working in close contact with the public since June 3, 2020 and are unable to socially distance,” one petition says. The petition, started by Hair Dressers Unite, compels Illinois Gov. J.B. Priztker to include cosmetologists in the state’s Phase 1b of vaccine rollout. On Feb. 25, Illinois expanded vaccine eligibility to include those who have underlying health conditions.
In Arkansas, salon owner Veronica Wirges worries that since stylists are not considered during the vaccine rollout, they are continuing to be put at risk by servicing clients daily. “We’re part of a fully functioning economy,” she told local news station KARK 4 News, “and even though we are not shut down, we are shutting ourselves down.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that frontline essential workers including grocery store workers, teachers and USPS workers be vaccinated in Phase 1b. “Essential workers” according to the CDC are those whose work-related duties “involve being in close proximity (<6 feet) to the public or coworkers.”
Other sectors including food service workers are listed in Phase 1c, but it does not list beauty professionals at all. The CDC does further explain that state and local officials have the authority to decide vaccine priority and that their allocation of vaccines are only a recommendation.
In June, the CDC floated the idea of using beauty salons as potential vaccination sites because salons are a place “people tend to congregate”. So far, major sports arenas and mass vaccination sites have been popping up throughout the country.