A mosque was transformed into a Covid-19 vaccination clinic last week.
People over 50 or with health conditions that put them at greater risk from Covid-19 were offered vaccinations following Friday prayers at Masjid Riza, Birkby.
Staff from local GP practices worked in partnership with the mosque trustees and committee members to bring the Covid-19 vaccine into the heart of the community.
Dr Burhan Ahmed, clinical director for Greenwood PCN and GP at Croft Medical Centre, said: “We want to make sure all communities get the vaccine and reassure people about any concerns they may have.
“We’ve been looking at ways we can reach different groups of patients and where we might need different approaches to help people feel more confident about having their vaccination. It is important that no one is left behind.
“By engaging with community and faith leaders we were able to identify the Riza mosque located within our Primary Care Network to set up this pop-up clinic. Our vaccination team at Cathedral House, which is run by the Greenwood, Viaduct and Tolson Primary Care Networks, have collaborated with Kirklees Council and Kirklees CCG to deliver this service with the intention of increasing the uptake of the vaccine and reducing misinformation.”
Dr Jalil Ahmed, a GP at Fieldhead Surgery, part of The Viaduct Care Network, spoke to worshippers attending Friday prayers about the importance of getting the vaccine for themselves and the community.
Dr Ahmed said: “A lot of people said that hearing the sermon helped them make their decision to come and get the vaccine.”
Sharafat Ali, a trustee at Masjid Riza, said: “We’ve wanted to get involved and support the NHS with the local Covid-19 vaccination programme for some time.
“We’re really pleased it’s happened. We’re in the heart of Birkby and Fartown, in an accessible location which people know.
“It’s been a fully-inclusive clinic and we’re really pleased to have welcomed so many people from our community. We’re already being asked when the next one is!”
Another trustee, Amjad Javaid, was amongst the first the get his vaccination. The textile worker from Crosland Moor said: “I’m happy to get the vaccine. It’s important to protect yourself and others.”
Whilst waiting for her vaccine, Hajra Irfan, from Birkby, said: “I’m not worried about getting it.”
In-between welcoming people to the clinic, Iqbal Mohammad, a member of the mosque, also got his vaccine. He said: “Everybody should have it. I think it’s a good idea to run the clinic here. Hopefully there will be more.”
Helen Broscombe, from Cowcliffe, said: “My neighbour told me that the clinic was on, so I thought I’d come down. It was really quick and I’m so glad I’ve had it.”
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, strategic director for public health at Kirklees Council, said: “Over half of all adults in Kirklees have now received their first dose of the vaccine, which is excellent. We want to make sure everyone who is eligible can get the vaccine.
“We know some people still have questions or may be hesitant, so receiving the vaccine in a familiar setting, like Masjid Riza, can really help to increase confidence levels and uptake.”
People aged over 50 who have not yet booked an appointment to get their first dose of the vaccine are encouraged to do so. This can be done by visiting the NHS website or by calling 119.