Things That Matter

Watch This Video Called ‘Project Abuelita’ About COVID-19 and Try Not To Cry

Screenshot via YouTube

Slowly but surely, the COVID-19 pandemic is winding to a close. If you’ve been following the news closely, you know that the CDC has given the go-ahead for fully-vaccinated people to gather indoors without social-distancing or having to wear a mask.

This is especially good news to those of us who haven’t had close-contact with our family members in over a year.

Unfortunately, many Latinos are suspicious of the COVID-19 vaccine–especially the older, less-informed generation.

Luckily, the Ad Council has partnered with ad agency Pereira O’Dell to create a marketing campaign called “Project Abuelita”.

“Project Abuelita” is a campaign aimed at encouraging older Latinos to get vaccinated. The campaign is part of the Ad Council’s Vaccine Education Initiative. And as a side note, we dare you to watch the minute-long video and try not to cry.

The video shows an abuela cleaning her home and getting dressed. She has knick-knacks and sentimental mementos around her house, like kids’ drawings and family photos. The doorbell rings and the abuela greets her daughter and two grandchildren.

The children, visibly excited to see their abuelita, hesitate to touch her. But after their mother gives them the go-ahead, they rush into her arms. The abuela looks overcome with emotion as she is finally able to hug her grandchildren for the first time in ages.

Despite COVID-19 hitting the Latino community particularly hard this past year, Latinos remain skeptical about the safety of the new vaccine.

According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 26% Latinos said they would get the vaccine as soon as possible, compared to 40% of white people. 43% of Latinos said they would “wait and see”.

Latinos aren’t skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine for no reason. There are multiple historical incidents where the U.S. government has exploited people of color and Latinos in the name of “health”. Like when U.S. Public Health service purposefully exposed unknowing Guatemalan prisoners to syphilis in order to record its symptoms. And unfortunately, there are many other examples.

But the COVID-19 vaccines are nothing to be afraid of. Scientific consensus is that the vaccines are safe. Not only that, but getting vaccinated will help us get back to our normal lives.

The “Project Abuelita” video is for a free service of the same name that the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force launched.

According to a press release, the service will utilize bilingual volunteers to reach out to the elderly, monolingual Latino population to help with vaccination efforts. The volunteers will schedule testing, vaccination appointments and follow-up appointments.

As Jay Tamsi, co-founder of the Kern County Latino COVID 19 Task Force says: “Our abuelitos need us more so now than ever in setting up their vaccination appointments solving transportation issues, and helping them make sense of our changing ways.”

Find out more about Project Abuelita here.

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This Latina Is Making COVID Piñatas So People Can Take Their Pandemic Anger Out In a Fun Way

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This Latina Is Making COVID Piñatas So People Can Take Their Pandemic Anger Out In a Fun Way

Photo via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

Like many people, Carolina Tolladay Vidal’s COVID-19 hit her business hard. Tolladay Vidal runs a piñata business in Anchorage, Alaska, and with so many fiestas being canceled, her piñata sales were plummeting.

For fun, Carolina Tolladay Vidal created some COVID-virus-shaped piñatas to post to her social media page. And suddenly, orders for the quirky piñatas began to pile up.

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A post shared by Carolina Vidal (@the_pinata_shop)

Around July 4th of last year, Tolladay Vidal posted the following: “We’ve had it with you COVID19! This mama is tired of social distancing, postponing parties, canceling trips, juggling with kids 24/7, and this whole new lifestyle (I won’t lie, love the lazy days too!! So…prepare to die!! [laughing emoji] Want a chance to win this FILLED corona virus piñata? Stay tuned for details tomorrow!”

Her followers, dying to have a chance to unleash their pandemic-related anger in a fun way, immediately connected with her new product. “You are a creative genius!” wrote one of her followers. Another wrote: “Ja jajjajaja buenísima!!! [clapping hands emojis]”.

via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

Carolina Tolladay Vidal said that her inspiration for the COVID piñatas came from her own frustration at the way COVID has negatively impacted her life. “Many of the projects I had were moved to other dates,” she told Alaska Public Media. “Many were canceled.”

Tolladay Vidal explained that hitting the COVID piñatas was both fun and cathartic. “I think you really smash them and break them and hit them with meaning because it has been tough for everybody,” she said.

She also acknowledged how smashing the COVID piñatas was “bittersweet”–the sweetness from the piñata, of course. The bitterness from, well…being in a pandemic for over a year.

Carolina Tolladay Vidal learned the craft of piñata-making from her abuela when she was growing up in Mexico.

via the_pinata_shop/Instagram

“I have a memory of my grandma setting up all the grandchildren and helping her make a couple star pinatas with the seven points,” she told Alaska Public Media.

She created her own business, The Piñata Shop, when her daughter requested a very specific piñata for her birthday that CTV couldn’t find in stores. ““I had looked in the stores in town. I looked online, and I didn’t find anything,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Well, you know, it shouldn’t be so hard to make up a piñata.’”

A true jefa, Carolina Tolladay Vidal also runs an artisanal online jewelry store designing and selling Talavera jewelry called Folksy Bonitas. Creative genius, indeed!

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As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Things That Matter

As The U.S. Expands Vaccine Eligibility Here’s What You Need To Know

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Starting today, everyone 16 and older can get in line for the Coronavirus vaccine. This is a huge milestone that has been months in the making after a very ambitious plan by the Biden administration.

But with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still on pause, many have been wondering what the vaccine program will look like – especially since nearly everyone is now eligible to receive a shot in the arm.

As of Monday, anyone 16 and over is technically eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, every state in the U.S. expanded its vaccine eligibility to include all adults over the age of 16, meeting President Biden’s deadline which he established two weeks ago.

The country is now administering 3.2 million doses a day on average, and half of all adults have now received at least one dose. Additionally, 84.3 million people have now been fully vaccinated against the disease. These are truly encouraging figures in the fight against the pandemic but a lot of uncertainty remains.

Ok but can I get a shot?

Technically, yes, anyone over the age of 16 is now eligible for the vaccine but your access to it really varies from state to state.

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C., were the last to open up eligibility on Monday, after other states expanded access to the general public over the past month.

If the country’s present vaccination rate continues, 70% of the total U.S. population could be vaccinated by June 17 and 90% by July 25, the New York Times has projected. That timeline will likely depend on what happens with Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, however, as distribution is now paused following reports of blood clots, despite being statistically extremely rare.

So, what’s going on with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said that he believed the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will likely be lifted on Friday. During interviews on talk shows, Fauci stated that he expected federal health officials to decide on the vaccine’s future by the end of the week and that he did not anticipate the vaccine being permanently banned.

One alternative to banning is to limit who is able to receive the one dose shot, perhaps limiting it to males over the age of 50. This is how Europe adjusted its strategy following similar blood clotting issues with the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which was created using similar methods.

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