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Vaccine catch-up centres set up by Redmaids' High alumna

 

Dr Sayma Ahmed, Redmaids High Alumna

Across the Redmaids’ High School community, we’ve been proud of what both our current students and alumnae have achieved throughout the Covid 19 pandemic.

We were particularly impressed to hear what alumna Dr. Sayma Ahmed has been getting up to as part of Muslim Doctors Cymru (MDC), which she voluntarily co-founded to promote health and wellbeing across all communities in Wales. Sayma left Redmaids’ High in 2005, and is now working as a GP in Cardiff and Urgent Primary Care Doctor in the Royal Gwent Hospital.

First hand experience

Although Sayma has been working on the frontlines and dealing with Covid since the beginning of the Pandemic, Sayma and her husband both contracted Covid in November, and were still shocked at how badly it affected them as otherwise healthy, young people. Despite their caution, strict adherence to the guidelines and PPE, Sayma’s GP surgery had to close for 10 days whilst staff were sick or self-isolating.

National research has shown that BAME communities are more likely to catch and become more ill with Covid, yet less likely to take up the vaccine. Muslim Doctors Cymru recognised that there were many misconceptions about the Coronavirus vaccine, often being spread through social media, including that having a vaccine during Ramadan would break the fast, or that the vaccine had been rushed through. Their initial work aimed to dispel these myths, using infographics and videos/webinars in multiple languages.

Their work also led to a bigger idea to reach communities in Wales who may have been more hesitant to take up their vaccine.

Recognising potential

As strict limits were imposed on places of worship, the group recognised that using a currently under-utilised local mosque could offer a reassuring and familiar community space to offer ‘catch-up’ vaccines, to those who were in eligible groups but had not yet had their first dose.

The centres are open to anyone of any faith or background, through MDC they hope they will reach and reassure communities with a higher rate of vaccine hesitancy, and is part of a bigger project to bring healthcare and accurate information about the virus and vaccines to local communities in Wales. MDC is now a recognised organisation and working with Welsh Government, Public Health and Health boards to further their vision.

As a result of the amazing work of Muslim Doctors Cymru, there are plans to use more Mosques and local community centres across Wales as vaccine centres, open for all. We’re so proud of the fantastic work by Sayma and her colleagues.

Date Posted: 16 April, 2021

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