Local GP practices have collaborated with the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking to set up a Covid-19 vaccination service.

The first vaccination clinic took place last Sunday with patients being vaccinated after invitation from their GPs. Due to its success there will now be further vaccination services held at the mosque.

Professor Aftab Ala. Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Munira Mohamed, a local GP, worked with the Shah Jahan Mosque to organise this vaccination service.

Said Professor Ala: “I’ve had links with the mosque for the past 15 years, and when we suggested running a vaccination service for the local community there they were very accommodating.

“This is one of the first faith centre vaccination services in the south east of England and it’s wonderful to be able to offer vaccinations here for the local community. The first day was a great success. All the patients attended and it was lovely to hear so many positive comments that they felt comfortable in a safe, familiar, local environment.”

Munira Mohamed, Lead GP at Sheerwater Health Centre, added: “It’s good to see so many people coming to the mosque to get their vaccination. The idea behind this project was primarily to give the BAME community confidence. We felt that if they could come to a trusted place they would be more likely to get the vaccination. This has definitely worked. Initially I was concerned that we wouldn’t fill the slots but as soon as my Practice Manager started to contact patients I could see it was going to be a success. And we’re fully booked for next Sunday’s vaccination service already.”

Mohsin Mughal is Chairman of Shah Jahan Mosque. He said: “When we were approached with the idea of offering Covid-19 vaccinations here we were happy to help. There’s been an excellent response from the local community. People feel confident coming here and, once they have been vaccinated, word will spread and others will want to follow.

“Both Imams have been vaccinated and that has sent a very strong message to the community too. We were really pleased that the first vaccination clinic was fully booked.

“We’ve also been overwhelmed with the response from within the mosque. I asked for two volunteers to help on Sunday and actually had 22 people reply. Now we have more than enough volunteers for the next few weeks.”

Mohammed Bashir was one of those vaccinated. “I’m very happy to get the vaccination to protect me against Covid. It didn’t hurt at all. The mosque is very local to my home so it was easy to get here.

Ozge Duzgun was another of the patients at the vaccination service. She said: “I’m happy to have had my vaccination to help keep me safe. I live locally so was pleased to be offered an appointment to come here.

The vaccination service at the Shah Jahan Mosque is being run as part of the NICS local GP Federations’ wider vaccination programme.

More information on the vaccination programme across Surrey Heartlands can be found on our website along with a series of frequently asked questions.

The photograph shows the vaccination team and volunteers outside the Shah Jahan Mosque:

Front row: L-R Dr Farhan Syed, Shah Jahan Mosque Volunteer; Nela Patel, Pharmacist;  Parminder Oberai, Pharmacist; and Dr Paul van den Bosch

Middle row: L-R Kalil Nazir, Shah Jahan Mosque Deputy Chair and Mohammed Azam, Shah Jahan Mosque Volunteer

Back row: L-R Victoria Leeves-Wood, District Nurse and Vaccinator; Dr Munira Mohamed, Lead GP at Sheerwater Health Centre; Professor Aftab Ala. Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; and Mohsin Mughal, Chairman of Shah Jahan Mosque.