The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited the vaccination pop-up centre at Finsbury Park Mosque today to learn about the work being done to tackle vaccine hesitancy in the local community.
This visit is a continuation of Prince Charles and Camilla’s support of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme. Past visits to vaccination centres have included to Skipton House, Wembley Vaccination Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The clinic at Finsbury Park Mosque is run by NHS staff in local partnership between the NHS, the Mosque and Islington Council. It has been supported by clinical and operational leads, vaccinators, administrators and stewarding staff from the Mosque.
The royal couple met Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, before being taken around the clinic by Toni Orloff, COO Islington GP Federation, and Soumia Gillam, Senior Clinical Pharmacist and Covid vaccination Programme Clinical Lead.
Dr John McGrath told The Duchess of Cornwall: “We want to get this vaccine into the arms of everyone. No matter of race, colour or creed.”
The Duchess gave a personal insight into her vaccination; she told Dr McGrath she was given the AstraZeneca jab and said: “I hate injections so much that I shut my eyes.”
The Duchess, who was wearing the dove brooch from her collection of Van Cleef and Arpels Lucky Animals, was praised on social media for advocating the vaccine and overcoming her fear of injections to get vaccinated.
Finsbury Park Mosque and the local NHS have collaborated to provide Covid-19 vaccinations via the pop-up clinic sessions, which run three days a week. Unfortunately, the community has lost a considerable number of congregants. The Mosque is now at the forefront in helping the local community on a number of projects, including educational campaigns on social distancing, distribution of meals and PPE to hospitals, delivering food parcels to the vulnerable, and providing support for counselling and bereavement.
Recently, there has been evidence that BAME communities are more hesitant than other groups to get vaccination. In a webinar to the British Asian Trust last month, Prince Charles said, “There are particular challenges faced in particular sections of our society, especially in some ethnic minority communities. What saddens me even further is to hear that those challenges are being made even worse by the variable update of the vaccines, which finally offer us a way out of the suffering of the past.”
Mr Kozbar told the Royals: “Even for those who are still hesitant, when they see such a visit they will be encouraged. We have been working with the NHS and GPs for a while, but here we are and we are very happy to facilitate this programme.”
The Prince of Wales has a long-standing relationship with Finsbury Park Mosque; the impressive complex was officially opened in a ceremony in 1994 attended by him. Charles later visited the Mosque in 2017 when he attended the Muslim Welfare House and those affected by the Finsbury Park terror attack.
The visit coincided with the news that The Duke of Edinburgh has left hospital after being treated for an infection and having a procedure involving his heart. The Prince of Wales told well-wishers that he is ‘thrilled’ that his 99-year old father has returned to Windsor Castle.
In addition, this week The Prince of Wales has written in the Future Healthcare Journal in praise of the healthcare profession’s response to Covid-19. He wrote: “No-one who has witnessed the events of the past year could fail to be profoundly impressed with the dedication and selfless commitment of all in our National Health Service.”