Telegram - Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit & Vicinity says TAKE THE SHOT


November 11, 2021

Rev. Dr. John Duckworth - Gethsemane MBC - Pastor

The COVID-19 Pandemic is into it's 2nd year. Many people have lost their loved ones to this virus and the way we conduct business has forever changed. Not only has the manner in which we conduct business changed, the way that we fellowship with our families, show love to our friends and even the normal handshake has changed. The CDC recommends that adults take the vaccinations and recently, vaccinations have been approved for kids as young as 5 years old.

We know that people listen to their pastors when it comes to issues that are affecting their families. So, the Telegram News had a ZOOM conversation with Rev. Dr. John Duckworth, the Pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Westland and the Co-Chair of the Health and Human Service Committee for the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity (COBPODAV) to learn what message they want to get to the people of Southeastern Michigan.

TELEGRAM – Thank you for taking time to share information about the TAKE THE SHOT Campaign that the Council has been working on


DUCKWORTH – The TAKE THE SHOT Campaign began the second week of August. It came about when we realized that our communities weren't going to Ford Field or TCF to get the vaccination if they were going to get the vaccination at all.

TELEGRAM – How much area is the Council covering with this campaign?

DUCKWORTH - There are at least 46 churches are a part of the Council. But we have also partnered with 52 churches around the state particularly in urban areas. The initial outreach is Detroit and vicinity and it goes as far south as Monroe County and as far north as Genesee County. We are making certain that we get the word out about the importance of vaccination.

TELEGRAM - Are you targeting the urban communities in those counties?

DUCKWORTH: Yes, that is the goal. At the onset, at the beginning of the virus when the numbers were extremely high and the death toll was high, African Americans were disproportionately affected and dying at a higher rate. They were the ones that were turned away from getting medical care for the virus. If you ask me if this practice was still going on, I would say that the track record of what has been proven as It relates to the value of our lives and the value of our health care hasn't changed. If we can stay out of that situation, we will fare a whole lot better.


DUCKWORTH - Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been trying to get information to our fellow churches so we could lead our congregations and churches that we service. We had to get an understanding of what we were going up against; the virus and the vaccine. We concluded that since our communities had the highest infection and death rates it was a no brainer. If we are preaching Salvation spiritually, we must preach Salvation medically. That is when the Council decided to launch the TAKE THE SHOT Campaign.

We wanted to see what type of difference the faith community could make in this fight against Covid-19. At the beginning, we knew that the majority of our community wouldn't go down to Ford Field or TCF. We knew that and tried to convey that information. Often times we are ignored until it is the ninth hour. Then when the ninth hour came they came to us asking for help. We tried to let it be known at the beginning because we know the community we serve.

The surest way to get the information was to get the community to listen and be in conversation with the most trusted institution in our community. In the African American community it is the church. Our goal was to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

We are dealing with people are hesitant about taking the shot. They came to take the shot after someone in their family got it. Each person who is hesitant that gets the shot is probably equivalent to 10 people who weren't hesitant at the start and took the shot . We want everyone to get vaccinated.

A special thanks to Fox 2 News, who has been the main organization that has helped us to get the word out.

TELEGRAM - Has the hesitancy of testing improved?

DUCKWORTH - Testing is going well now. The original testing method with the swab going close to your brain deterred many people from getting tested. There are more types of testing options and since many jobs and school have made testing mandatory, most persons in our communities are more comfortable with getting tested.

TELEGRAM - The two day total was 10,000 cases and 90 deaths over a two day time period in early November. That was the highest numbers since April of this year. Do you think the number of people getting tested is why there are more people finding out that they are positive for COVID-19?

DUCKWORTH – I think it is a combination of more testing and people acting as if the virus is gone.

The numbers are higher in the Northern and Western Michigan. We haven't heard a lot about the serge in those areas. The problem is people from our areas go into those areas that have high numbers and then come back to our areas and bring the virus with them.

TELEGRAM – What can we do to get the mask wearing and vaccine taking numbers up?

DUCKWORTH – One of the worst things that happened from the beginning of the health pandemic was for it to be politicized. This was never a political issue. It is a health issue. But when leadership doesn't have the intelligence to understand the difference between political and health; this is where the debates happen; Mask debates, vaccine debates

We are off track because it wasn't put in the proper prospective from the beginning.

The pandemic does care who you vote for. We have to get people to understand that at the end of the day, this is something that we do to keep yourself safe and others you may love safe as well.


For a location near you or for more information call 313-875-2459 or Email: [email protected] or as you are driving though your community look for the churches that have the TAKE THE SHOT flags in their front yard.


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