Tyler Matrix and Shane Mathews in an Ohio Valley Wrestling match in 2016 (Courier Journal photo by Pat McDonogh)
“Pro wrestlers are going to the mat to try to boost Covid-19 vaccinations in an Eastern Kentucky county with one of the nation’s highest rates of new cases,” Deborah Yetter reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. “Organizers, including local officials, state Senate President Robert Stivers and the Volunteers of America, hope it can become a model for other counties with lagging vaccination rates.”
Ohio Valley Wrestling will host the match at Clay County High School on Friday. At the Monday press conference announcing the “Take One for the Team” effort, wrestler Brandon Espinosa said he plans to get his first shot during intermission. He said he’s been “on the fence” about vaccination, but said he hopes others will be inspired to follow his example, Yetter reports.
“The goal is to boost vaccination in a county where low rates of vaccination and soaring rates of Covid-19 cases have put Clay County third in the nation in rates of new Covid-19 cases. Perry County, also in Eastern Kentucky, is first, according to a New York Times data analysis,” Yetter reports. “Monday’s news conference comes three weeks after Stivers said he and other local officials were planning a campaign to boost vaccinations in Clay County with incentives including pizza restaurant coupons, wrist bands, cash awards, sports equipment and basketball tickets.”
Since then, a county health official told Yetter, vaccination rates in Clay County have increased from 33% to 40%.