۱۱ اسفند ۱۳۹۹ | Mar 1, 2021
Vaccination hub to open in Balsall Heath mosque to reach more vulnerable residents

Leading imam gets vaccine and urges communities to 'get the facts' from trusted medical experts.

Hawzah News Agency - A leading mosque in the city is to open a vaccine hub in its community halls to support the rollout - and hopes other faith settings will follow suit.

The Al Abbas Islamic Centre in Clifton Road, Balsall Heath, stepped forward to provide vaccinations to ensure people living nearby and their families had somewhere familiar and safe to get their jabs.

The hub officially opens on Thursday. It will provide another option to locals, alongside GP hubs, hospitals and the mass vaccination centre at Millennium Point.

Appointments can be made online and are open to all of the vulnerable groups now prioritised for the vaccine - including over 70s, health and care workers and those deemed extremely clinically vulnerable.

Mosque trustee Haider Hudda said the venue's leadership committee, guided by medical experts, were keen to play their part in supporting the rollout and the local community.

Leading the way to encourage others to take up the vaccine is Imam Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, who posted a photo receiving a jab with the twitter message: "Alhamdu Lillah!

Some 25 GP hubs and six hospital centres in Birmingham and Solihull are now open to vaccinate people, with community pharmacies due to come on line shortly.

In excess of 350,000 people in Birmingham and Solihull have been vaccinated so far.

The mosque is situated in Balsall Heath, which has suffered consistently high infection rates, illness and deaths.

The area currently has a Covid infection rate of around 800 per 100,000 people - higher than the citywide rate of 724 (data for week ending January 13).

Inside the mosque, two community Imambargah halls are side by side and large enough to hold up to 500 people each during non-Covid visits. The space available makes it a safe venue for vaccines. Visitors will be received and check in inside one hall, then move into the other for their vaccine and short recovery period, before exiting safely, said Mr Hudda.

"We want to benefit the community at large and are happy to provide our facilities. It is run by the NHS but with our support," he added.

Vinyl, washable flooring has been laid on top of carpets to meet covid safe guidelines, with full Covid security in place, staggered appointments and social distancing throughout.

There is also a large car park and halls are accessible to wheelchair users.

Mr Hudda said anyone with personal concerns about the vaccination programme - whether medical, scientific or religious - had been encouraged to raise them to ensure people had access to accurate information to help them make informed choices.

"We have been open and transparent with our communities. Our medical taskforce, including local doctors, is always available to answer concerns and give regular updates about the pandemic.

"They have addressed many personal and specific questions and are very careful to get the message across about the safety of the vaccine."

The mosque - due to be transformed in a multi-million rebuild and transformation project - is currently closed to congregational prayer.

Said Mr Hudda: "We took the decision to protect worshippers, their families and our community. We have many worshippers living in multi-generational households or who are clinically vulnerable so we think the risk to them of additional interactions is great. Behind the centre are housing complexes with elderly residents and that is another reason to avoid risk.

"Then the new variant has come along and after we weighed up the pros and cons we realised the risks are too great to open just yet.

Comment

You are replying to: .
3 + 0 =