Anybody in or around Appleton looking for a COVID vaccine can stop by Taperz Barber Shop on Richmond Avenue Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.
The vaccine drive is being organized by the owners of the shop as well as People of Progression, a year-old organization founded by Taperz co-owner Caidan Davenport.
“We’re not necessarily promoting that people should get the vaccine. Only thing we’re doing is facilitating the people that do want to get the vaccine,” Davenport said. “In the Black community, I feel like we have a lot of mistrust and I think that (it’s important) for us to have a place that’s comfortable for us to be able to get the vaccine. It may not work for everybody, but it definitely would work for some.”
In Wisconsin, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black people, but Black people remain much less likely to be vaccinated; while 36.7 percent of white people are completely vaccinated, only 16.8 percent of Black people are, according to the state Department of Health Services.
Davenport said ThedaCare and Ascension Health will administer Pfizer vaccines at the shop Saturday. Anyone who gets the first dose Saturday can return June 12 for the second dose.
Additionally, anyone who gets the vaccine Saturday will also receive a free six-piece chicken dinner from Jimmy’s Chicken and Fish to be used the same day.
Davenport, who launched Taperz three years ago, said it makes sense to make the vaccine available to Black folks at the barbershop, because that’s where you find people you can trust.
“I consider the barbershop the hub of the community,” he said. “In Appleton, we have a lot of young professionals, a lot of college students, a lot of people that just come from bigger cities that move here, so the barbershop is kind of the place where you come and say, ‘Hey, who got the best food? Where can I find a mechanic? Where can my wife get her hair done?’ It’s one of those happy, greeting places. It’s just something that’s been in our culture for years.”
Davenport said the shop staff wants to make it as easy as possible to get vaccinated for anyone who wants to — even going so far as pledging to offer rides to anyone who can’t get to the shop on their own.
“Give us a call, if you want to get the vaccine that day and we’ll send somebody out to pick you up, whatever you need,” he said.
But it’s also important to respect individual decisions, he stressed.
“If you choose to (get vaccinated), you should do it. I feel like if you don’t, you don’t. But what I see is that people ostracize people, if you do. They ostracize you, if you don’t,” he said. “It’s your choice and it should be understood and it should be okay.”
Davenport said People of Progression just recently achieved its official 501(c)(3) status.
“The main thing is to basically supply support for our community in different areas, for example, racial injustice, the workforce and schooling for our children, black-owned businesses,” he said of the organization’s goals and mission. “That’s the type of thing that we kind of focused on helping around those areas.”
Taperz Barber Shop is located at 203 Richmond Avenue, just off West College Avenue in Appleton.