Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts met with fans, Kroger employees, and frontline health care workers on Monday ahead of the team's 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.
The meet and greet with Mookie was part of an overall effort to help more people get vaccinated in Southern California's underserved communities. Betts was there on behalf of Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co., to bring greater awareness to those aforementioned underserved communities when it comes to the effectiveness and accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“In Los Angeles, we've experienced a lengthy shutdown during this pandemic," Betts said. "I think we can all agree we want our lives to return to normal. The best way to do that is for each of us to get vaccinated. My friends at Ralphs [Kroger] have been on the front lines since the beginning, and I'm honored to join their efforts to encourage each and every Angeleno to Take One For Their Team and get vaccinated."
According to the most recent reports from the CDC, 64 percent of adults in America have received at least one vaccination shot already, but in underserved communities, specifically Black and Brown communities, those numbers shrink dramatically. Only 13 percent of the 64 percent of adults with at least one shot are Hispanic, and less than 10 percent are Black.
To help motivate and encourage more Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Kroger Health are offering incentives for eligible customers and associates. Kroger Health will give out five $1 million dollar checks or groceries for an entire year as part of their #CommunityImmunity Giveaway that runs through July 10.
Betts joined the Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox in February of 2020, and batted .292 with nine home runs and 28 RBI in the pandemic-shortened 60 game season. Betts then helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series Championship since 1988 on a neutral field at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Local news from across Southern California
Betts was crucial in helping the Dodgers overcome a 3-1 deficit to the Atlanta Braves in the National Championship series, making three consecutive spectacular defensive plays in each of the final three games of the series, all Dodger wins.
Betts was asked before the 2021 season began on March 30 if he had been vaccinated yet, and he declined to answer. "That whole vaccine is a personal decision. I'd like to just leave it in the clubhouse."
However, the Dodgers did surpass the 85 percent vaccination threshold as an organization in early May that allows the team to have more relaxed COVID-19 protocols both at home and on the road.