As the afternoon call to prayer reverberated through the East London Mosque, local residents of all beliefs flocked in to put their faith in science and receive their Covid-19 vaccine. Medical staff and volunteers escorted patients to their appointment at a temporary vaccination centre in the mosque compound to ensure the lengthy queue moved with the mechanical efficiency of a factory conveyor belt.
The London borough of Tower Hamlets, where the mosque is located, has the highest number of Muslim residents in Britain but doctors are encouraged at the take-up of the vaccine, despite concerns from some that it invalidates the Ramazan fast. Hasnayn Abbasi, a doctor in charge of the vaccination centre, said getting vaccinated was compatible with fasting during the Islamic holy month, which began this week.
“This isn’t anything new, but it’s become more prominent because so many people need the jab this year. So we would say, please come and have the jab done,” he told AFP.
“Once you do it in a mosque, you immediately cut through that. So we thought, what better place to do it than here, which gives the message out without having to say anything?”
Vaccine hesitancy is disproportionately present among some minority groups, even as Britain drives ahead with a mass inoculation campaign that has so far seen more than 32 million people have a Covid jab.
One study indicated that only 59 percent of Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities had taken the vaccine by early February — well down on the figure for white Britons.