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Vaccine bus visits Newbury mosque as members speak out against vaccine hesitancy

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The mobile vaccination bus paid a visit to Newbury mosque last week, as members spoke out in a bid to dispel misconceptions that they were hesitant to get the jab.

Sunny Hussain, who helped organise the vaccination event, said: “I don’t know anybody who did not take the vaccine and it is a worry to hear people talk of vaccine hesitancy.

“It’s really upsetting when people are saying the BAME community are not taking the vaccine and not helping the community.

A member of the mosque gets the vaccine.
A member of the mosque gets the vaccine.

“It is about dispelling the misconceptions.

“We have a mixture of first and second and booster jabs happening today. I am delighted to see everybody here. It’s really good.

“We are trying our best to regularly advise our community and guide them to maintain all the rules and regulations.

A mixture of first, second and booster jabs took place.
A mixture of first, second and booster jabs took place.

“In the last few months [the NHS] has come regularly to offer tests and distribute lateral flow test kits. They spoke to people before prayers about how important it is to test regularly."

Although testing units have visited the mosque four times in the past, Friday was the first time that the mobile vaccine unit has been there. But Mr Hussain said it would be welcome back at any time in the future and that anyone was welcome there to get their vaccines.

Lucky Miah, chairman of the Bangladesh Welfare Centre and mosque, added: “We are delighted to have the NHS come to our mosque and do the vaccines.”

Community United’s Alice Kunjappy-Clifton, who helped organise the event in conjunction with Healthwatch West Berkshire, said it was a real positive that the Health on the Move van was visiting.

Members gather at the mosque.
Members gather at the mosque.

She said: “In West Berkshire [vaccine hesitancy] was never the case.

“They have been really proactive. They care for the community; for their safety.

“As time has gone on communities have engaged, especially in West Berkshire.

“The message is keep testing, get boostered and protect West Berkshire.”

Other measure still in place at the mosque include prayer mats being situated 2m apart, masks worn inside and hand sanitising units all around the building.

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