Mariners, UW aim to 'strike out COVID-19'

March 19th, 2021

SEATTLE -- The Mariners on Thursday announced a major initiative in conjunction with University of Washington Medicine that will help COVID-19 vaccines reach underserved communities in the Puget Sound region.

The club is providing $2 million in funding to support UW Medicine’s community outreach strategies and mobile vaccination efforts that are based primarily at Harborview Medical Center. The partnership also includes the launch of a mobile vaccination program and a community awareness campaign -- “This is our shot to strike out COVID-19” -- featuring Mariners players and team personnel encouraging vaccine acceptance.

These programs aim to raise awareness for the safety and importance of the vaccine while also making the vaccine easily accessible, particularly in those communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, historically marginalized by healthcare systems and in which vaccine hesitancy and skepticism have been documented. Black, Hispanic and multiracial populations in Washington state have received fewer doses of the COVID-19 vaccine compared to other communities, according to data from the Washington State Department of Health.

Current Mariners players, coaches, broadcasters and alumni will help to educate and inform the public by sharing videotaped messages to encourage widespread participation in COVID-19 vaccinations, including Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez and Mr. Mariner Alvin Davis. Current Mariners who will participate in the community awareness campaign include starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, first baseman José Marmolejos, third-base coach Manny Acta and manager Scott Servais. Their messages, which are recorded in English, Spanish and Japanese, outline how vaccines can create a safer community and begin to restore normalcy.

“Ensuring that every person is both willing and able to be vaccinated is critical to our community’s ability to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton said in a statement. “The Mariners are proud to join UW Medicine to both increase vaccine willingness and reduce the barriers to vaccination in our region.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Mariners in helping us mobilize COVID-19 vaccination programs in underserved communities throughout our region and to the players and other Mariners personnel for using their platform to encourage fans to get vaccinated,” CEO of UW Medicine Dr. Paul Ramsey said in a statement. “This partnership between UW Medicine and the Mariners is a great example of how our community has come together and pitched in to save lives and end this pandemic.”