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Strip Club Attracts the Unvaccinated

Las Vegas walk-in clinic draws men who say the place feels familiar
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2021 3:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Wearing a French maid-inspired lingerie costume and high heels, dancer JoJo Hamner waited patiently to get her COVID-19 vaccine in a line that snaked past a glittery hostess stand under a red-light chandelier. When it was her turn, Hamner sat in a chair and held onto a small feather duster that completed her costume while a nurse administered the shot into her already-exposed arm. Hamner then waited nearby for the required 15 minutes of observation, sitting with other vaccine recipients in leather chairs among plush purple booths, vacant stages, and empty poles at this strip club in Las Vegas. "This is just the most Vegas thing I've ever seen," she said of the experience, the AP reports. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, with a spinning disco ball casting rainbow colors on the walls but more lights turned on than usual, was an unconventional site for a walk-in vaccination clinic. But as government officials and health workers try to address the slowing demand for COVID-19 vaccines, they're increasingly turning to creative ways to incentivize people to show up and get a shot.

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"This is just another way to access our population," said JoAnn Rupiper, chief nurse of the Southern Nevada Health District. The clinic opened for several hours Friday night, administering shots to about 100 people before the strip club opened for its usual business. Several workers at the club, including Hamner, a dancer at a topless venue, got their shots along with members of the public. Some people admitted they were reluctant to get the vaccine but decided to go for it if it meant visiting a strip club. Roberto Montti went to the Hustler Club because it felt familiar. "I've been here so many—I've been here a few times. ... Maybe 10 times, give or take," he said with a laugh. Lisa Harper said her husband, Michael Myers, decided to go when she told him they could both get vaccinated at the Hustler club. "A lot of people that wouldn't ordinarily do it, a lot of guys, they said, they came here because it's Hustler," Harper said. "To take away the stodginess of it, to make it Hustler, it's very clever."

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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