Getting a Haircut in NM? ‘Chair Care,’ a CDC/NM Department of Health Program, Uses So-Called ‘Trusted Messengers’ to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Targeted Populations.
In New Mexico, some hair stylists are being trained, in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant -funded program through NM Department of Health (DoH) called ‘Chair Care,’ to become COVID-19 vaccine, flu vaccine, and Long COVID-19 “Trusted Messengers” (TMs). Because the “…program is committed to equity and recognizes the value of TMs in their communities…TMs will receive a stipend of $4,000…as compensation for active participation and time dedicated to the program.” In other words, U.S. and New Mexican citizens’ tax dollars are paying for the NM DoH, in collaboration with the CDC, to try to coerce people who are getting haircuts into taking vaccines.
If this sounds Orwellian, it is because it is.
The Chair Care program’s stated goals are to “address vaccine hesitancy” and “increase awareness about COVID-19, long COVID-19 and flu among New Mexicans…with factual, current information [to help] protect people from preventable illness.” To achieve those alleged goals, the CDC and NM DoH want to use “local hair stylists working in privately owned salons” as well as “…culturally appropriate language to reach clients across diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic populations.” Chair Care is also targeting specific groups of people: “…Latinx/Hispanic, Black/African American, Native/Tribal and politically conservative populations…” [Bold added.]
In answer to “What is a Trusted Messenger?”, the website for the program says, “Chair Care Trusted Messengers are hair stylists who are committed to supporting healthy communities.” It expands upon that by stating, “Research tells us that who a message comes from is just as important – if not more – than what the content of the message is*. Chair Care TMs play a critical role in sharing the facts about vaccination with their clients because their clients trust them. TMs can talk with their clients about vaccinations in a more relaxed, conversational way than traditional authority figures or healthcare providers sometimes can. (*Source: https://www.adcouncil.org/tmstudy)”
Hair stylists who sign up for the approximately six-month long Chair Care program attend two mandatory, full-day, in-person trainings “to develop core knowledge and skills.” Those two Chair Care sessions train hair stylist TMs in: “1) motivational interviewing, 2) COVID-19 basics, 3) flu basics and 4) long COVID-19 basics” and “…include using evaluation feedback and data tools, as well as other kinds of program support.”
In case the reader is not familiar with the term “motivational interviewing,” Chair Care defines it as “an evidence-based and culturally sensitive approach to helping people manage mixed feelings and move toward healthy behavior change that is consistent with their values and needs.” Also, the CDC hosts a webpage about it titled “Talking with Patients about COVID-19 Vaccination.” [https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/hcp/engaging-patients.html] The CDC page links to the American Psychological Association’s definition, which states that motivational interviewing is “a client-centered yet directive approach for facilitating change by helping people to resolve ambivalence and find intrinsic reasons for making needed behavior change. Originally designed for people with substance use disorders, motivational interviewing is now broadly applied in health care, psychotherapy, correctional, and counseling settings. It is particularly applicable when low intrinsic motivation for change is an obstacle.” [Bold added.] [https://dictionary.apa.org/motivational-interviewing]
After the in-person training, twice-monthly, hour-long, virtual meetings are required “to receive content updates and program support.” Once per week, hair stylists also spend 30 to 45 minutes submitting their data and feedback. Additionally, Chair Care program managers visit TM sites, and “TMs will have the option to host in-person COVID-19 and/or flu vaccine clinics.” [Bold added.] Finally, in April 2024, TMs will participate in an in-person, half-day program debriefing.
Despite now overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and flu vaccines are harmful and ineffective, the the NM DoH, using CDC dollars, is manipulating citizens through their hair stylists to attempt to increase vaccine uptake. To read more about the Chair Care program, visit its website. And, be on the lookout for this manipulation-through-trusted-messengers technique, because it is also being used to influence unsuspecting people’s view about climate change. Rest assured, if this is happening in New Mexico, it is happening elsewhere, too.
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
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