The move marks the beginning of a major initiative whereby Bradford Council for Mosques is teaming up with local GPs to accelerate and increase take-up of the vaccine as an essential preventative measure against COVID-19.

The vaccination centre at the Central Mosque became operational from Thursday 18th February, and will deliver the vaccination programme between 8.30am and 1.30pm.

Practice nurse Hannah Currie of Kensington Health Centre, Bradford, prepares a dose at the city’s Central Mosque this morning (Thursday 18 February) after the building opened as a community vaccination centre. The new hub is part of a series of measures by Muslim leaders in the city ‘to give positive information and reassurance’ about vaccines and encourage uptake. The Council for Mosques has been working with the NHS to debunk vaccine ‘myths and fake news’ which have seen a resistance to the jab by Muslims and other members of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, and the campaign has seen some success.

It is hoped that this initiative will help to increase confidence in the vaccine across the city, encouraging people to go for the jab in ever-increasing numbers.

The vaccine hub is part of a series of measures launched by Bradford Council for Mosques to give positive information and reassurance about vaccines and encourage uptake among all priority at-risk groups. Wherever essential, we are looking at ways to provide transport for those most needing it.

The local NHS is also providing a home vaccination service for housebound people so that they are not disadvantaged.

CfM President Zulfi Karim

“Whatever the barriers to getting a jab, Bradford Council for Mosques is determined to work with our local NHS and council to do everything possible to remove them and widen access,” said its President, Zulfi Karim.

“That’s why we have offered this centrally-located Mosque as a vaccination hub, and we are busy exploring other ways of making the jab as accessible as possible for everyone.

“Our Mosques are used to playing several key roles in the heart of our community. They are also well-versed in the continuing fight against COVID-19, so this added dimension is a natural progression.

“Just because somebody has no transport, or is shielding at home, it should not be a barrier to getting safe and effective protection against COVID-19. “This is a virus which for the last year has impacted our city more than many others, with high rates of infections, hospitalisations and deaths.”

Bradford Council for Mosques, which this year is marking its 40th anniversary, has already received national acclaim for the way it has worked to meet – and beat – the unprecedented COVID-19 health challenge across the district.

Yusuf Ismail, 78, after the first Covid jab at Bradford’s Central Mosque after the building opened as a community vaccination centre.

“We have fought fake news, we have challenged conspiracy theories, and we have raised awareness of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” said Mr Karim.

“The vaccine offers us all in Bradford the very best way of protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our fantastic local NHS.

“We hope that this new initiative, coupled with a similar pilot scheme launched in Keighley last week, will protect even more vulnerable people and ultimately save more lives.”

He added: “Our message is simple. If you are invited to have the vaccine, say ‘yes’ — thanks to the support of the community, we will do the rest to make sure you get it.”

Dr Safina Haque, Clinical Director of Primary Care Network 4, and a GP at the Kensington Partnership, said: “This new pop-up vaccination centre is part of a district-wide programme which has seen NHS organisations across Bradford and Craven working with partners, to ensure we can continue to move at pace to roll-out vaccinations.

“We’re grateful to the Council of Mosques for supporting us and thank all those who have been involved in setting up the facility, alongside the staff who will be working at the mosque, to help ensure we can vaccinate as many people as possible.”

People will be contacted by their GP practice to book their appointment and should not turn up to the vaccination clinic without one an appointment.”