UNITED KINGDOM. London: Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as Neasden Temple in London’s borough of Brent, is Europe’s biggest Hindu temple. The place of worship has now turned into a COVID-19 vaccination hub.
The COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been set up inside a school on the grounds of the temple, with around 12 vaccination units organized inside the drama room.
The hub is run by Harness Care, a network of 20 GP practices, and they aim to give over 1,300 jabs a day.
The Mayor of London wrote on Twitter at the end of January and said, “Fantastic to see the opening of the UK’s first vaccination center at a Hindu temple. Thank you to everyone involved in getting this up and running at #KingsburyMandir. You will help protect your family and community by getting vaccinated.”
“An unequivocal message to the Hindu and wider South Asian community”
Dr. Sachin Patel, GP and Chair of Harness Care said: “This centre will send an unequivocal message to the Hindu and wider South Asian community that the vaccine is safe and permitted. We’re thankful to Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury for the leading role they are playing,” MyLondon reported.
The center is also working to raise awareness and educate people about COVID-19 vaccines.
Recent data suggested that ethnic minority communities in the U.K. are less likely to trust the COVID-19 vaccines. Thus, the role of the temple is crucial to vaccinate more people from these communities.
Earlier this month, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir took to Twitter and said, “Fantastic to welcome @SadiqKhan & @RajeshAgrawal to #KingsburyMandir again where they were greeted by Temple Trustee Dr @mahesh_varsani who is an immunologist himself. Using the power of faith & community to encourage all to take the #Covid19 #vaccine & tackle vaccine hesitancy.”
This comes after the Asian celebrities united to dismiss vaccination rumors and urged more Asian Britons to get vaccinated.
The 10k Milestone
On Feb. 21, the Mandir hub reached an important milestone — they vaccinated 2080 people, reaching 10k inoculations since opening.
Darshna Patel, Vaccine Programme Director at the center, wrote on Twitter: “Wonderful end to the week! 2080 people vaccinated at #KingsburyMandir today & 10k milestone passed! Huge thanks to the fab team who’ve given so many a glimmer of hope.”
As of Sunday, almost 17.6m people have received a vaccine dose in the U.K. The COVID-19 cases in the world have now reached 4.12m and 121k people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a press conference tonight is set to reveal the roadmap to end the lockdown in England.