A BOURNEMOUTH imam is encouraging people to get their Covid-19 vaccination after opening a new drop-in centre at Bournemouth Central Mosque.

Members of the Muslim community in Bournemouth and Poole have worked with BCP Council and Dorset CCG to open vaccination centres at three of the conurbation’s mosques – the others in Winton and Poole.

Imam Majid Yasin was the first person to receive the vaccine at the new drop-in clinic in St Stephen’s Road on Saturday.

“We are very happy to have opened our vaccination centre here at Bournemouth Central Mosque," he said.

“As part of society, we should help and encourage people to get vaccinated.

"We did an announcement among the people who attend the mosque, and we encourage all people to come here and have their vaccination.

“Some of the media and people on social media have said do not get vaccinated, but it not only protects yourself but your family, your friends and everyone in society.”

"We want people to go out and carry on their lives and the best way we can do that is by getting vaccinated.

“Allah tells us that if you save one life, it is as if you save the whole of humanity.

“We really do believe in and encourage the use of medicine. If you have any problem, you should seek treatment. That is what the vaccination is, so this is very significant for us.”

The campaign for mosques in the BCP area to be used for vaccinations was started by Tarif Ali, known locally as Terry.

He said: “I went through BCP Council to the CCG and asked them if we could start doing vaccinations from the mosques to encourage people from minority groups to get vaccinated. We launched the vaccines from Poole Mosque last Tuesday and Sister Tama launched this one.

“We have members from the Traveller, Irish, Romanian, Polish, Pakistani and Bangladeshi community all coming here today.

“Those in the highest risk category are Bangladeshi and Pakistani so we have approached members of those communities to encourage them to come here, get the vaccination and protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The vaccine centre will be open every Saturday at the mosque, which is also open for daily prayer and funerals, but large Friday services are currently closed.

Although over 250,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been delivered across the county since December, Dorset CCG and Public Health Dorset are still encouraging people to come forward for their vaccination.

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils, said: “We’re delighted to be working with local NHS partners and community leaders to bring this pop-up vaccination centre to Bournemouth Mosque.

“Engaging with our communities has been a top priority for us throughout the pandemic, and we hope by adding pop-up clinics in additional locations we can encourage more people to take up the offer of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“I’d like to reassure residents that the Covid-19 vaccine has been through all the usual clinical trials and safety checks as any other vaccine or medicine approved for use in the UK, and it doesn’t contain any animal products.”