GREENFIELD — Community members who registered for a Covid-19 vaccine at McDonald’s in Greenfield recently were able to get a free Big Mac.
The two-day event was held Aug. 6 and 7 in partnership between McDonald’s and Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid (VIDA) Monterey County, itself a coordinated team of agencies and groups dedicated to assisting county residents.
The goal for VIDA was to raise the vaccination rate in the county and talk to anyone who came by with questions or concerns.
Different groups within VIDA staffed different times, and members were able to share their stories of getting vaccinated, provide information handouts, and talk about pandemic assistance beyond the vaccine.
“We tell them this is to prevent the spread of Covid,” said Leticia Ibarra, a health care worker from Lideres Campesinas on behalf of VIDA on Saturday morning. “We give them hats, and McDonald’s is giving them a Big Mac.”
Ibarra said answering questions and dispelling myths and rumors helps people with their concerns about the vaccine.
“The more we register and we get people to get vaccinated, the sooner this thing will go away, but a lot of people are not trusting still,” Ibarra said.
After a talk and information, Ibarra said people tend to feel more at ease. That’s where the VIDA team helps them with registration. In addition, members will help provide transportation to a vaccine appointment for those who need it, even if they want a particular type of vaccine only offered in another city.
“If it means going to Gonzales or King City, then that’s where we’re going to take them,” Ibarra said.
Since the members from VIDA had health care workers among them, the group was also able to provide help with Covid-19 testing, even able to arrange a home visit for testing if necessary.
For those who come up with questions about unvaccinated relatives, the VIDA team was also able to provide handouts and their contact information. Ibarra said the information cards tended to do the job of relieving hesitancy.
Once someone decided to register on site, they were given a card that acted as a coupon pass to go inside the restaurant and get their Big Mac.
“This is kind of like a little prize because who doesn’t want a Big Mac?” Ibarra said. “It’s an incentive to motivate people.”
Ibarra said she was grateful to McDonald’s for partnering with VIDA to show how businesses can get involved in the community.
In addition to vaccines, the VIDA members were able to discuss relief services, including unemployment, disability, mental health, food assistance and rental or utility assistance.
They also had those handouts ready as cards in both English and Spanish. They’re the same cards VIDA members use when they go door-to-door.
“We show people what services are provided free in the county,” Ibarra said. “There’s a lot of need right now.”
She said people who have suffered losses because of Covid deaths or the pandemic fallout are in need of many services, one of the most notable being free mental health services, which the outreach efforts help to inform people about.
“A lot of these services, people don’t know are available to them and they don’t use them because they don’t even know they existed,” Ibarra said.