In the UK, Muslims find comfort in receiving vaccines at mosques

When 60-year-old Shenaz Sajan, a British woman from the English Midlands, learned more about COVID-19, she was hesitant about the vaccines on offer, and hoped that if she needed to, she could fight off the virus with a plant-based diet.

“It was a very pleasant experience having it in a trusted place like the mosque.”

Sajan is among the dozens of people who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the centre, which is in inner-city Birmingham, since January 21.The UK has won praise for its vaccination roll-out, having already administered a first dose to about 10 percent of the population, or more than 12 million people.

Vaccination centres have been set up in expected locations such as pharmacies but also in cinemas, a London football ground and other places of worship such as a Hindu temple.

On Sunday, hundreds of people were vaccinated at a pop-up clinic at the East London Mosque, which serves the UK’s largest Muslim community.

In Birmingham, Al-Abbas Islamic Centre vaccinates two people at a time in a multi-purpose hall. The mosque expects to vaccinate up to 500 people in the upcoming weeks.

Nuru Mohammed, the mosque’s imam, said the idea to convert the space into a clinic was to help people who were not “well-informed” about the vaccination campaign, amid fears and false information that had been circulating among the Muslim community.

“We are excited that people are coming to receive their jabs,” he told Al Jazeera. “I would like to take this opportunity to encourage my dear brothers and sisters to verify every bit of information they receive with trusted medical experts such as NHS staff.

“It will definitely send a strong positive message to the wider Muslim community, not only here in Birmingham, but in the entire country, because I think this is the first mosque within the country opening its doors for vaccination to take place.”

The UK has won praise for its vaccination roll-out, having already administered a first dose to about 10 percent of the population, or more than 12 million people.

Vaccination centres have been set up in expected locations such as pharmacies but also in cinemas, a London football ground and other places of worship such as a Hindu temple.

On Sunday, hundreds of people were vaccinated at a pop-up clinic at the East London Mosque, which serves the UK’s largest Muslim community.

In Birmingham, Al-Abbas Islamic Centre vaccinates two people at a time in a multi-purpose hall. The mosque expects to vaccinate up to 500 people in the upcoming weeks.

Nuru Mohammed, the mosque’s imam, said the idea to convert the space into a clinic was to help people who were not “well-informed” about the vaccination campaign, amid fears and false information that had been circulating among the Muslim community.

“We are excited that people are coming to receive their jabs,” he told Al Jazeera. “I would like to take this opportunity to encourage my dear brothers and sisters to verify every bit of information they receive with trusted medical experts such as NHS staff.

“It will definitely send a strong positive message to the wider Muslim community, not only here in Birmingham, but in the entire country, because I think this is the first mosque within the country opening its doors for vaccination to take place.”

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