Olivia Uribe-Mutal, an advance care planning facilitator at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, printed 1,000 rubber bracelets with the words “#COVIDSAFE21” to give to those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“My hope is that we can visually see the vaccines are getting to people,” she told the News-Press Wednesday.
She thought of the idea while relaxing in her condo’s hot tub. A neighbor cautiously asked to join and offered to sit on the other side of the spa.
Her husband said she’d received both doses of the vaccine, and the neighbor was also fully vaccinated. They began chatting about their experiences.
Ms. Uribe-Mutal wished there was a visual way to tell if someone was vaccinated — something to wear even in the hot tub. She remembered the yellow Livestrong bracelets that were popular years ago and decided they were the perfect solution.
She received her order of 1,000 rubber bracelets early February and began handing them out to co-workers and friends.
To reach people outside her circle, she created a website, covidsafe21.com, where individuals can request a bracelet. She has sent the bracelets as far as New York.
“I’d like this to be something that helps the entire community,” she said.
Ms. Uribe-Mutal noted that if she can distribute a lot of bracelets, people could start to see the holes in distribution and potential access issues.
It also may help relieve stigma surrounding the vaccine.
“Wouldn’t it be cool to see when you go to Trader Joe’s and you’re out and about that you could see the vaccine spreading?” she said.
If she runs out of her first order of bracelets, she said she will make more.