Vaccinations taking place at mosque

Covid-19 vaccinations taking place at Lea Bridge Road Mosque
Covid-19 vaccinations taking place at Lea Bridge Road Mosque

Drive to vaccinate elderly people yet to accept jab offers, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter

A pop-up vaccination hub at a Waltham Forest mosque gave Covid-19 jabs to 130 elderly residents who had initially refused to have them, in just two hours.

Chingford GP Dr Asad Ashraf, who ran the pop-up at Lea Bridge Road Mosque earlier this month, said it had proven “very successful” at encouraging elderly residents to accept a dose.

Residents aged over 70 were encouraged to book appointments by the mosque’s special vaccine hotline. They were reassured that the jab is safe, effective and contains no animal products.

The local NHS clinical commissioning group has suggested it has plans for more clinics targeting harder-to-reach groups around East London in future.

Dr Asad Ashraf said: “As local GPs, we’ve been very aware of the challenges of vaccine uptake across Waltham Forest. 

“While we’ve successfully vaccinated thousands of people in our local area, we are still keen to encourage many more eligible residents to come forward.

“We know which communities we need to target, and as I have good contacts at the Islamic association, we worked with them and the council to set up the clinic at the mosque. 

“It gave people the opportunity to raise any concerns they might have, seek reassurance from familiar and trusted voices and have the vaccination in a place they know well.”

The clinic was organised by local doctors, Waltham Forest Council and by Waltham Forest Islamic Association (WFIA).

WFIA vice-president Abdul Majid explained the association had consulted medical professionals and Islamic scholars to back up their support for the vaccine.

He said: “In Islam, preservation of life is of the utmost importance, so we are keen to play our part to reassure those who are hesitant about having the vaccine. 

“We will continue to work with the NHS and Waltham Forest Council in this partnership to help our communities.”