CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – For the first time in Cleveland a COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been held at Cleveland’s largest mosque: the Islamic Center of Cleveland on West 130th. WOIO Cleveland For the first time in Cleveland a COVID-19 vaccination clinic has been held at Cleveland’s largest mosque: the Islamic Center of Cleveland on West 130th.
The event was organized and run by “Neighborhood Family Practice.”
Doctors tell 19 News there have been major barriers in the Muslim community when it comes to the vaccine.
Although that the vaccine is more readily available, a language barrier, misinformation, and a distrust of the government and politicians have created barriers for Northeast Ohio’s Muslim community, which was hit hard by the coronavirus. Despite that, when it comes to the vaccine there’s still reluctance.
“People are scared that this has not been tested, they are concerned there may be a chip planted during vaccination,” said oncologist Yosef Alli of the Cleveland Clinic. “A few of them are also scared that this is all a hoax – and this is a way of the government to keep a tab of us.”
To help calm the fears, local doctors who are part of this tight-knit community held the clinic at the place where the Muslim community feels safe to worship.
“This is a very challenging issue at the national level. We hope that this will even galvanize there is nothing wrong,” said doctor Mansoor Ahmed of the Cleveland Sleep Disorders Center. “This is for our existence and survival and we must all be vaccinated.”
The COVID vaccine is said to be the best shot at protecting yourself from the coronavirus, but for the Islamic community, there was not only a problem with registering due to some people who are not as tech-savvy but issues with understanding the science of the vaccine because of a lack of information in their language.
“A lot of people don’t speak English, and even people that speak English they have a lot of misinformation because information is not available in our language,” Alli said.
But by working in collaboration with others there are now flyers, brochures, and other information published for those who are Arabic-speaking. There are even translators to help when needed.
Ali says this won’t be the last vaccination clinic for people of the Islamic faith to get the shot. The clinics will go on at the mosque for the next six weeks, and there are plans to expand the vaccine drives to mosques on the East Side.
“Those mosques visited by African-American Muslims, those mosques catering to refugees directly,” he said. “We hope to organize similar drives in the future.”
The Muslim Community in Cleveland also includes refugees from places like Syria and Somalia.