Newport’s Jamia Mosque transformed into new vaccination centre

The first Mosque to be used as a vaccination centre opened in Newport today.

Jamia Mosque in Pillgwenlly has opened to vaccinate anyone over 60 years old, homeless, or in the vulnerable category, in the Anuerin Bevan Health Board area to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Mosque is in the centre of Newport and the hope is that this will encourage people who may feel hesitant about getting the vaccine to come forward and receive it.

Data from the NHS trust shows a lower rate of Covid-19 vaccination rates among ethnic minorities than in the white population. A recent survey of 12 million people found that only 50% of people from the black Caribbean and African populations were likely to receive the vaccine versus a 70% rate of the white population.

Dr Bnar Talibani, a kidney and transplant specialist and a member of Muslim Doctors Cymru, says that opening up places of worship as vaccine centres will help to debunk some myths that people hear about the vaccine.

She said: “If you have concerns about this vaccine and you can go to your own place of worship and speak to people in your own community and ask them questions and have those concerns addressed, sometimes that carries a different kind of weight from going to your GP or hearing it on the news.

“I hope that this will be the start of many vaccine hubs becoming community centres. We can take this to synagogues, to black majority churches, other churches. This can be a blue print for any other hubs that want to be vaccine centres.”

Dr Talibani also said that a language barrier can contribute to vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation.

“For some people that we’ve been speaking to, who are receiving misinformation in a language they feel more confident in, if English is not their first language, they don’t necessarily have access to accurate information in that language,” she said.

“That’s now being addressed. But that ability to go and take your questions to someone who can answer them, I think that’s going a long way to reassuring people as well.”