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Pop up vaccination clinic in a Mosque in Blackburn with Darwen

A MOSQUE in Pennine Lancashire was turned into a pop-up vaccination clinic to target “at-risk” groups who have been hesitant to come forward.

Faith leaders at the Masjid E Saliheen Mosque in Didsbury Street, Blackburn, worked in partnership with NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Blackburn with Darwen Council to offer coronavirus vaccinations to eligible local people in cohorts 1-9.

The clinic was run by the Local Primary Care Federation and Primary Care Network and was set up to encourage all those people who have not yet come forward. It was hoped by providing a service in the community, in a convenient and familiar location, it would encourage people to come forward. There was also concern that people would not come forward for their vaccination due to concerns about Ramadan.

The pop-up clinic was open to everyone, regardless of faith, between 10am and 2.30pm on Saturday, April 10th.

Dr Mohammed Umer, Chair Local Primary Care Federation and Clinical Director Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Network said: “We know that pop-up clinics in other areas have worked in encouraging people to come forward and take up the offer of a vaccination. It is important that we do what we can to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. It is vital that any barriers to people accessing the vaccine are removed and by engaging and empowering local communities to support and promote uptake, we can hopefully reinforce the message about how important it is to get a vaccination.”

Mosque Chairman Saleem Kapadi said: "Our volunteers have worked extremely hard to ensure this vaccination clinic is available to everyone in our community. We are urging all those that fall in the categories eligible to come and get vaccinated this Saturday. We are open for all communities.”

Chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) Maulana Rafiq Sufi said: “LCM is proud to have worked in partnership with NHS Blackburn with Darwen, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Blackburn with Darwen Council in the set-up of the Covid Vaccination pop-up clinic. I hope this was a useful and successful initiative for all sections of our community to take advantage from.

“In the near future, LCM hopes to support more venues across Lancashire in partnership with Local Authorities, CCG’s and the NHS. On behalf of LCM, I want to sincerely thank all staff, volunteers and Masjid e Saliheen on Didsbury Street, Blackburn for supporting and delivering this initiative.”

Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health, said: “I’m really pleased to see this innovative piece of partnership work come to fruition. This is 21st century health care delivered direct to the community. To have the clinic in such a trusted and convenient to access location – with staff who are multilingual – will help remove some of the barriers to people coming forward for the vaccination. We will be using this model to explore options for more pop-up clinics in other sites across the borough in the coming months.”

Jane Scattergood, Lancashire and South Cumbria Covid-19 Vaccination Director said: “This is a great example of partnership work between local faith leaders, health professionals and other communities in Blackburn. I’d like to thank everyone involved who has worked so hard to make this happen.

“Coronavirus affects us all, so it remains vital that we all continue to work together to make sure that everyone has access to vaccinations as easily and quickly as possible. I would urge anyone invited to have the vaccine to please take up the offer, to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.”

Volunteers from the mosque will be on hand at the clinic as marshals, to welcome and support people attending for their vaccination and to ensure safe social distancing is maintained.

For further information about the vaccination programme please log onto www.healthierlsc.co.uk