MORE people across Tees Valley are to be offered a Covid-19 vaccination as another local Mosque is turned into an NHS ‘pop-up’ clinic.
Community and faith leaders at the Al-Mustafa Community Centre and Mosque, Middlesbrough, are working in partnership with Middlesbrough Council Public Health Team and NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to offer coronavirus vaccinations to people aged over 50, or in an ‘at risk’ group over the age of 16, who have not already been jabbed.
The clinic, run by health staff from Central Middlesbrough PCN, has been set up to help encourage all eligible people to get vaccinated in a location that is convenient and familiar to many within the community.
Take-up of the vaccination has been lower in BAME communities across the UK.
The new pop-up community clinics aim to help build trust and encourage those who are reluctant, or who have previously refused a vaccine offer, to take the jab.
Dr Vaishali Nanda, Clinical Director Central Middlesbrough PCN and GP at The Discovery Practice, Middlesbrough, said:” Pop-up clinics like the one at the Al-Mustafa Community Centre and Mosque aim to encourage a greater uptake of vaccinations with the support of trusted local figures.
“It is vital that any barriers to people accessing the vaccine are removed and by engaging with the community we can hopefully reinforce the message about how important it is to get a vaccination in a very positive way.
“It also aims to offer a more convenient location to be vaccinated for many people, alongside our GP led vaccination sites, community pharmacy sites and the large vaccination hubs at The Darlington Arena and The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough.”
The drop-in pop-up clinic, which will be available for eligible people of all faiths, or none will be open on Thursday 8 April from 9:30am–5:30pm – no appointment is needed.
Volunteers from the Mosque will be on hand at the clinic as marshals, to welcome and support people attending for their vaccination and to ensure safe social distancing is maintained.
A spokesperson for the Al Mustafa Centre said: “It’s so important that people come forward to get the vaccine when invited.
“As a centre we’ve been working hard to promote the benefits of the Covid vaccine. We want to play our part in keeping everyone in Middlesbrough safe.
“We’ll be pleased to welcome people of all backgrounds to the centre so they can get their jab.”
The Al Mustafa Centre is represented on Middlesbrough Council’s Covid Champions network.
The network is doing targeted work with communities at greater risk from coronavirus.
“It is understandable that some people may have some reservations about the vaccine, however it is really important to stress that the vaccine is safe and has been very thoroughly tested,” added Dr Nanda.
“There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the vaccine that simply is not true. The content of the vaccine is halal; it does not contain alcohol or pork or any other animal or foetal products. The British Islamic Medical Association has also released a statement suggesting that, according to the Islamic scholars, ‘having a jab will not invalidate the Ramadan fast’ but please discuss with your local Imam for further guidance.
“Therefore, it remains vital that people from all communities take up their offer of a vaccination when it comes, it is the only way they can protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone around them as we try to get back to a more normal life.”