Salford’s Yemeni community is encouraging eligible friends, family and neighbours to come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine as pop-up vaccination clinics begin to roll out across the city.
The Yemeni Community Association in Greater Manchester, based in Eccles, hosted a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic for members of the community who are eligible for the first dose. More than 75 were vaccinated, including Wagdi Hadrian who was vaccinated one year to the day from being in intensive care on a ventilator fighting COVID-19.
Wagdi said: “This time last year I was in intensive care. I was in intensive care for about six days on a ventilator, in hospital a total 13 days, and ill for quite a while afterwards. I’m now very well, look after my health, and would advise everyone to take the vaccine.
“COVID is real, it’s not a joke. I remember being very excited last year as I’d just finished by PhD and looking forward to things. I remember being told to be careful of COVID and follow the rules, but I didn’t pay much attention to be honest, and I caught COVID-19. But now hopefully everyone is getting the vaccine, and everything is going to be better.”
The vaccination clinic at the Yemeni Community Association is one of several pop-up clinics being organised by the community, for the community. The pop-up clinics are delivered by the Salford NHS Vaccination Service over the next few weeks working in partnership with various community groups to reach the most vulnerable people living in Salford, including the homeless, people seeking asylum, refugees and other minority communities.
Amir Ahmed, community development officer for the Yemeni Community Association, said: “We work mainly with the Yemeni, Bengali, Indian and African communities, but also with asylum seekers and migrant communities who may not be getting the message about the importance of the COVID vaccine because of things like lack of digital media or access to the internet. Our first clinic went extremely well and we do intend to keep working closely with the NHS to hold more clinics in the future.”
As well as the vaccinations, people are provided with COVID-19 testing kits and the opportunity for a health check, including assessing how at risk they are from serious illness if they were to catch COVID-19. Homeless clients are also being offered an opportunity to register with a GP.
Dr Van Selvaraasan, clinical lead for the Salford NHS Vaccination Service, said, ‘’We would like to make sure that no one is left behind in this vaccination programme, and that everyone in Salford who are eligible, people from all communities and neighbourhoods, have the opportunity to get vaccinated.
“Recent studies have shown much greater vaccine hesitancy among people from some ethnic minorities. Prioritising vulnerable members of minority communities for COVID-19 vaccination, in particular those with health conditions and frontline workers, and recognising the role of local trusted sources of information could reduce the perceptions of risk of COVID-19 vaccines among people from different ethnic minorities and socio-economic backgrounds.
“Therefore, by making vaccination centres more accessible and convenient, will encourage them to take get the vaccine and hopefully increase the uptake.”
People currently eligible for the vaccine through the Salford NHS vaccination service include the over-45s, people aged 16+ who have underlying health conditions, and carers, both paid and unpaid. People aged 42-44 can also book their vaccine through the national booking site. For more information, please go to www.salfordccg.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine