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    KL1 Radio Local Radio for West Norfolk

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    EPISODE 35 OF THE FARMING SOCIAL HUB PODCAST

Local News

West Norfolk Muslim community leader voices concerns over coronavirus vaccine misinformation

todayFebruary 2, 2021 5

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Health bodies should have done more to prevent misinformation persuading people from ethnic minority groups not to have a coronavirus vaccine, a West Norfolk community leader says.

Sports stars and celebrities have been taking part in a campaign to debunk online claims that the jabs contradict the teachings of religions such as Islam and Hinduism.

The Government has said it is working with faith groups to encourage people to be vaccinated.

West Norfolk Islamic Association president Azam Gabbair, pictured here, right, with former borough mayor Nick Daubney, is worried about people from black and ethnic minority groups being persuaded not to have a vaccine.
West Norfolk Islamic Association president Azam Gabbair, pictured here, right, with former borough mayor Nick Daubney, is worried about people from black and ethnic minority groups being persuaded not to have a vaccine.

And several prominent black MPs have taken part in their own social media video declaring their intention to have a vaccine when it is their turn to do so.

But Azam Gabbair, president of the West Norfolk Islamic Association, says that, while community leaders like himself have a responsibility to challenge the conspiracies, the authorities have not done enough to tackle the problem.


Some of the false claims include suggestions the vaccines contain pork gelatine and alcohol – both of which Muslims are not allowed to consume – or ingredients derived from cows, which are sacred to Hindus.

Mr Gabbair said: “These false claims have been caused in part by poor communication from the public health bodies.

“We are confident that the two vaccines being used in the UK, Oxford Astra Zeneca and Pfizer, are permissible from an Islamic perspective.

“There should be no hesitation in taking the vaccines from a moral perspective too.

“It is our ethical duty to protect ourselves and there’s from harm.

“It is important that this message is amplified by community and religious leaders to debunk myths about the vaccines.

“They are undermining efforts to immunise the public.”

Imams at mosques across the country have been using their sermons to encourage worshippers to have a vaccine, while the British Islamic Medical Association has also backed them.

Actress Meera Syal, author and actor Adil Ray and England cricketer Moeen Ali are among the celebrities who have taken part in an online campaign on the issue.

And several non-white MPs, including Labour’s Norwich South representative Clive Lewis, have taken part in a similar initiative to spread the pro-vaccine message.

Concerns about a reluctance among black and ethnic minority groups to have the vaccine are particularly serious because they are believed to at greater risk of dying if they catch the coronavirus.

Research conducted last year by academics from the Universities of Manchester and Sussex found that black men, and men from Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, are almost twice as likely to die from the infection as their white counterparts.

Research conducted in the early months of the pandemic suggested that around 60 per cent of all health staff who died from the virus from from black or an ethnic minority background.



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