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Sikh leaders celebrate upcoming holiday with vaccination clinic

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Sikh leader Balwinder Singh Basra rolled up his sleeve to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Sunday at Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Luton, north London. And he wanted everyone to know that.

Unlike most of the 756,873 people who received injections in the UK on Sunday, Basra, the chairman of the gurdwaras, urged reporters and news broadcasts to look at his photo to make sure the community takes note.

I say to everyone. I took the vaccine this morning and everyone should take the vaccine and save the (National Health Service), said Basra, who wore a vibrating saffron turban for the occasion.

As politicians such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson have shown up for photo-ready coronavirus jabs, local efforts are much more important to tackle the reluctance of some people in ethnic minority communities to get vaccinated, according to Gurch Randhawa, professor of diversity in public. health at the University of Bedfordshire.

In Luton, the Sikh community decided that the best way to celebrate the next holy festival of Vaisakhi was with an immunization clinic, which embodies the faith principles of equality, justice and service. The festival is normally marked with prayers and large processions, but these celebrations will be interrupted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Forty people were vaccinated on Sunday and 40 more are scheduled for next week.

Vaisakhi is all about Sikhs performing selfless service, and what better selfless service than opening a pop-up clinic that caters to anyone of any religion, said Randhawa, who helped organize the event. . So today we have people of the Muslim faith, the Christian faith, the Sikhs, who are all coming to get vaccinated.

Britain has developed one of the most successful coronavirus vaccination programs in the world, so far delivering at least one dose to more than half of the adult population. But vaccinations have fallen behind in minority groups and disadvantaged communities.

A recent survey commissioned by the Department of Health and Welfare found that 72.5% of blacks in England had received or would accept the vaccine, compared to 87.6% for Asian residents and 92.6% for whites. .

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, and this information is too widely available, said Dr Manraj Barhey, a local general practitioner. So even though (Sikh membership) is not as poor as other communities, it could still be better.

The reluctance to get vaccinated is the product of a variety of issues, from concerns about vaccine safety to past discrimination in the UK healthcare system. Community leaders are working to combat these fears with education programs, local immunization clinics, and even a few well-placed photo opportunities.

And with efforts like that of the Sikh Sunday House of Worship, it’s all about spectacle – and telling.

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