(WSYM) — Health officials are seeing a sharp decline in people showing up to get their vaccinations.
Recently, in 20 Michigan counties – particularly rural communities – people were just not showing up for their vaccination appointments. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said he'd be surprised if we get 50 percent of Michigan's population vaccinated. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with Detroit's numbers lagging behind says he's making it as easy as possible, even offering $50 to people outside of Detroit who will drive someone in the city to get vaccinated.
That's why Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence is launching the GOTV Mother's Day campaign with the motto "Get Out The Vaccine."
Tracey Ellis is the first lady of Citadel of Praise Church, which sits in the heart of one of Detroit's poorest communities. She and her husband, Pastor Spencer Ellis, whose father founded Greater Grace Church, do food drives weekly to keep the Brightmoor Community fed during this pandemic, and while she admits she was skeptical of the vaccine at first her message is clear now.
"This is a deadly disease," Tracey said. "It's more of us educating ourselves on the deadliness of COVID instead of warning about what's behind I didn't get flu shots but I'm sitting here fully vaccinate today."
Tracey also made sure her mom, who is 70 but still golfs in a league and is very active, got the vaccine too.
That's a mother-daughter moment Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence and the entire Congressional Black Caucus in Washington D.C. are seizing upon. This month, from May 1 through May 8, they are launching the Get Out The Vaccine Mother's Day campaign.
"Mother's Day is coming and if you love your mother and you know your mother loves you, give her the gift of being vaccinated so you can live, you can hug your mother," Congresswoman Lawrence said.
She added that she knows Black vaccine hesitancy is rooted in mistrust.
"With so many African Americans around the country, we're being hospitalized disproportionately and dying," Lawrence said.
And the misinformation circulated on social media is not helping, she added.
"People are dying; you don't want to get that shot, this person broke out in hives," the Congresswoman said.
That's why she believes this vaccine is a game-changer, especially with these new variants that can spread like wildfire as they are right now in India.
"We're most at risk from those we love so if you love your family, you love your mom – get the vaccine," Lawrence said.
And Congresswoman Lawrence is so grateful to our health care heroes still fighting desperately to save lives.
People like Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Tania Little who works at Ascension Providence Hospital. She followed her mom into medicine – Dr. Vilma Drelichman, the section chief of Infectious Disease at St John Providence Hospital.
As a child, Dr. Drelichman had to care for her own mom. Now, this mom-daughter duo tells whoever will listen to please get vaccinated as they have.
"I was just so relieved to have my mom get the vaccine with me because I knew that provided her with safety against this disease," Dr. Drelichman said.
Congresswoman Lawrence has helped secure community partners like the Detroit Lions, Beaumont Health, and Triumph Church to sponsor walk-up vaccine clinics that opened beginning May 3.
And on this Mother's Day, First Lady Tracey Ellis will have a special message when she delivers a sermon to her congregation.
For a full list of walk-up vaccine clinics, click here.