'We have to do this together:' Members of local mosque overcome vaccine hesitancy

Health officials continue to move away from mass COVID-19 vaccine sites and focus more on bringing the vaccine to community members who might have hesitancy or struggle with getting access to important information. 

For many, the most comforting place is their place of worship. On Friday, several members of a local mosque decided to get the shot despite a little anxiety over it. Some say having the vaccine brought to them in a setting where they feel safe and protected made all the difference. 

Friday prayer at the Islamic Center of Kent was a little different today. "You do your prayer, you come here, you get the vaccination," said Farhon Haque, a mosque member who got his shot today. 

"There’s a lot of familiar faces, there’s people who speak their language, there's people who understand their culture," says Dr. Shoshana Aleinikoff, a HealthPoint medical provider who volunteered at the mobile clinic event. 

RELATED: King County non-profit fights against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

"There is so much push back there is so much hesitancy in regards to the vaccine because of our community's background of immigrant refugees," said Navidullah 

Haimdi, executive director of the Afghan Health Initiative, who held the event in partnership with HealthPoint Renton. Haimdi said many in the Muslim community face a language barrier and have been the target of misinformation about the vaccine. 

"The Islamic community at the end of the day just like you we're all people, humans, we have anxiety too," said Farhon Haque. 

For some, important questions were addressed at the event. 

"There's a misconception in the community that they’re thinking that the vaccine- has gelatin and that is coming from the pig and that is completely forbidden or haram in Islam," said Haimdi. 

RELATED: 'I don't know the long-term effects': Vaccine hesitancy persists amid rise in supply

He said it’s important to clear up that there is nothing inside the vaccine that goes against the Islamic faith. 

"Here is a safe place and safe organization, and for that I changed my mind and come here to get the vaccine," said Shekiba Khoral. 

Khoral said being able to get the shot at her mosque made her reconsider getting vaccinated. After speaking with a doctor here she learned it’s safe for her to get during her pregnancy, a message she plans to share with friends. "I recommend for every woman to change their mind and come and take the vaccine."

In total, 73 people were vaccinated. King County Public Health says with these kinds of events, the big impact often comes later on as people encourage others in their community to get vaccinated too.

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