Merton’s first pop-up vaccination clinic, hosted by the Baitul Futuh Mosque, Morden, proved a success with over 1000 members taking up the jab in just one day.
The Baitul Futuh mosque in Merton borough, the largest in western Europe, hosted its first clinic on Friday 26 February for people who are in the eligible population groups.
The clinic was set up in just days by the mosque community, including more than 40 volunteers, and a 12-strong NHS South West London vaccination team.
After the day the Ahmadiyya Muslim community issued a statement:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Merton was very happy and proud to support the amazing NHS Merton in the vaccination of those over 65, those with underlying health conditions and key workers. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community supports the Covid-19 vaccination programme and prays for its success in ending this terrible pandemic.”
Recent studies have shown significantly lower than average take-up among BAME people. It is hoped this new programme of clinics will reach out to local religious communities, in venues that are known and convenient, to encourage more people to come forward for vaccination.
Hadia, who works with the community and volunteered to help run the day, said: “I was a bit nervous but, once I sat in the seat, I was fine. Once everyone has it, we can all have a normal life back. That’s all we want. I’m looking forward to meeting my family, friends, going to weddings and events, going to restaurants, even a little holiday. Everyone’s frustrated in lockdown.”
For Tooba there was no question she would get the vaccine. “So many trials have been done, I never had any doubts about it. The mosque is like a second home to us – you feel much more confident coming here to get vaccinated.”
Merton’s lead nurse, Fiona White said that as a result of the success of the pilot, further clinics are planned at other religious community sites. Vaccination clinics will be held at St Mark’s Church in Mitcham, the New Horizon Centre, Pollards Hill, the Colliers Wood Community Centre the Darul Amaan Mosque, Colliers Wood and the Shree Ghanapathy Temple, Wimbledon with more being planned during the coming months.
The day was captured on film by the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya international news and features interviews with pharmacists and the National President Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK.