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Birmingham Mosque Becomes First in the UK to Offer Covid Vaccines

Dr Vin Diwakar, the NHS England regional medical director for London, explained during a Downing Street press conference that some of these deep-seated fears within South Asian communities about vaccines go back generations and that these communities have “legitimate and understandable concerns about the vaccines”.

Dr Vin Diwakar, the NHS England regional medical director for London, explained during a Downing Street press conference that some of these deep-seated fears within South Asian communities about vaccines go back generations and that these communities have “legitimate and understandable concerns about the vaccines”.

Birmingham’s Al-Abbas Islamic Centre has become the first in the UK to open as a Covid vaccination centre in hopeful news over the weekend. Located in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, the mosque is expected to be able to vaccinate up to 500 people a day.

The imam of the mosque, Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, now hopes that this incredible step forward for the community and the UK at large will help dispel the concerns and false information spreading about the vaccine being forbidden in Islamic law.

NHS England has also repeated this same fear, stating that this kind of false information about the vaccine may be causing many within England’s South Asian community to ignore the importance of getting a vaccine.

Dr Vin Diwakar, the NHS England regional medical director for London, explained during a Downing Street press conference that some of these deep-seated fears within South Asian communities about vaccines go back generations and that these communities have “legitimate and understandable concerns about the vaccines”. Dr Diwakar stated that some people were even “told by their grandparents that experiments were done in the early part of the last century, that unethical experiments were done way back in the 60s”.

Despite these long-lasting fears and legitimate concerns, Birmingham’s Al-Abbas Islamic Centre is one of many centres that hopes to help dispel these kinds of fears. Sheikh Nuru stated:

It will send a strong message to our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are doing this to say a big ‘no’ to fake news and a big ‘yes’ to the vaccine. Muslim scholars advise us to get the vaccine because the sanctity of life is important in Islam.”

Dr Rizwan Alidina, a trustee of the mosque as well as a member of the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, also stated the importance in dispelling the spread of false information:

“The significance of the venue is obviously quite evident with particularly the Muslim community being one of the communities with a bit of a lower uptake than we would otherwise have expected.”

As Birmingham’s Al-Abbas Centre continues to operate as a vaccine centre, retired GP Dr Masud Ahmad, one of the first to receive the vaccine at the mosque, stated: “It’s quite safe to have it”, and encourage the rest of the community to receive one as well in the hopes of quelling the ongoing rise in Covid cases across England.

The UK continues to be one of the worst-hit countries in the world with a worrying surge in Covid cases. England is currently in a national lockdown – to find out the latest information on Covid regulations and concerns, follow government updates here.

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