Enter “MIMOSAS WITH THE GIRLS?” YOU ARE STILL NOT VAXXED, DEBRA! This was one of Jancewicz’s first offerings, which features a generic image of an upset man arguing with a frowning woman. “I laughed when I saw him,” Abadir remembers, and so did the Internet.
The meme became one of their first social media hits, including through the department’s Twitter account, @BMore_Healthy. Encouraged by his success, they went on to create “Salad Connor,” “Ginger Ale Derrick,” and “Green Tea Trina,” sending the following message: No, none of these “healthy” things cure COVID. Since then, they have garnered tens of thousands of likes, thousands of comments and cries from major news outlets including the BBC, NPR and The Washington Post.
Inspiration for each meme comes from feedback from frontline staff in the department, from community ambassadors to infectious disease specialists. (In the case of “Mimosa Debra”, for example, contact tracers had noticed an increase in the number of unvaccinated people contracting the virus during brunch.) And every post is checked and verified before being released to the world. .
Although they’ve drawn a lot of attention to their campaign, the guys behind the memes want to remind people that they’re just a tiny part of what the country’s oldest health service has to offer, with something to say about it. 800 employees, from school nurses to environmental enforcement officers, work to keep the city safe.
“The City of Baltimore Health Department is made up of some of the smartest people in the world,” says Abadir. “We are more than just memes.”