CARPINTERIA, Calif. — Over the past month, Carpinteria resident Mark Mutal has been handing out hundreds of rubber bracelets.
He gives out the “#COVIDSAFE21” wristbands for free to those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The overall goal is to spread awareness and hope,” he said. “We're all in this together."
Mutal thought of the idea while relaxing in his condo’s hot tub with his wife Olivia.
A neighbor had cautiously asked to join while offering to sit on the other side of the spa.
However, he assured his neighbor — who had been vaccinated — that his wife had also received both doses of the vaccine.
They then began chatting about their experiences.
“Immediately my wife and I were thinking that it would be a great way to see who was vaccinated,” Mutal said.
Today he gave a bracelet to family friend Mindy Truex, who was vaccinated after 12 cycles of chemotherapy last year.
“The first chance I got, which was four days after my last chemotherapy treatment, I got my first shot,” she said.
Truex is now proudly wearing her wristband and encouraging others to do the same.
“It feels amazing, especially as someone who works in a hospital,” she said. “I hope that these encourage people and make them feel more comfortable."
Aiming to spread awareness around, Mutal has been mailing out his bracelets.
“We've shipped them out as far as New York, as far south as San Diego and as far north as Oregon,” he said.
“Our hope is that, not too far in the future, that these will be obsolete because so many people will have been vaccinated,” Truex concluded.
Anyone who’s been vaccinated twice can request a free bracelet by visiting www.COVIDSAFE21.com.