Portsmouth mosque to join fight against coronavirus to become city's latest vaccination centre

A MOSQUE is to become a new Covid-19 vaccination centre as efforts to inoculate the area’s population continue to ramp up.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 2:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th March 2021, 3:53 pm

The Jami Mosque, in Southsea, will be throwing open its doors from Tuesday, March 30, for its first weekly vaccination session.

It is anticipated the Victoria Road North worship site will be able to vaccinate hundreds of people a day.

As well as supporting the city’s battle against coronavirus, those behind the plan hope the mosque’s involvement will dispel false information plaguing the Muslim community that the vaccine was forbidden by Islamic law.

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The Jami Mosque in Portsmouth

Sumel Chowdhury, co-ordinator of the United Muslim Community Group in Portsmouth – which is among those behind the drive, said: ‘There have been a lot of misconceptions about the vaccine on social media. Some people don’t have the capacity to understand what is fake news and what is real.

‘It has created a great deal of hesitancy among the ethnic minority community.

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‘We are using the mosque as a way of reducing this hesitancy and stopping the spread of fake news.

Sumel Chowdhury, left, with Glenn Allen of the Portsdown Group Practice, during a visit to the Jami Mosque in Southsea.

‘Most of the ethnic minor and Muslim people know our place very well. We thought this would be the right place to invite them. They trust us here.’

The news came as the NHS’s chief pharmaceutical officer for England urged all eligible people to get their Covid-19 vaccine during a visit to Portsmouth to receive his own jab.

Dr Keith Ridge was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine at Lalys Pharmacy in Guildhall Walk, one of the first high-street pharmacies to join the national vaccination programme.

He said: ‘Getting the Covid-19 vaccine can save your life, which is why I want everyone who is invited to do what I did this week and get a first dose of the jab, when invited.

‘The NHS has invited everyone aged 50 years old and over to get their jab, as well as all health and care workers and people with underlying health conditions, and we achieved that in just 100 days, so as supplies allow, the NHS will carry on offering people in priority groups the chance to get their jab’

The Jami Mosque will be running vaccination sessions every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm and then from 2pm to 5pm.

All those eligible for their jab can book an appointment through Portsmouth HIVE or directly with the mosque from later next week.

Mr Chowdhury added the site was open to the entire city, not just members of the Muslim community.

‘Our Muslim community will be really proud to open their doors to the city,’ he said. ‘This pandemic is affecting everyone. In Portsmouth, we’re a big family and we need to help each other to overcome this pandemic.’

The NHS administered more than 21 million jabs in just 100 days and is now inviting all everyone aged 50 and over to get their vaccine.

Over nine in 10 people aged 65 and over have taken up the offer of a jab, with bookings doubling overnight earlier this week, with 708,927 appointments booked on Wednesday, up from 305,087 the day before.

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