by Linda Straker
- Survey among Islamic Community revealed that over 90% of respondents were inoculated
- Survey conducted among 183 Islamic Foundation members when only AstraZeneca was available
- Foundation educated its members using social media and not instructing from the pulpit
A representative from the Islamic Foundation in Grenada has disclosed that a survey conducted among the Islamic Community revealed that over 90% of the respondents were inoculated with one of the vaccines that are currently available for Covid-19.
“We did a survey of the percentage of people who are vaccinated in our community and 96.5% of the respondents are vaccinated, so when I compared that with the overall vaccination rate in Grenada, it serves as an example of how we, as religious leaders or people in the community, can basically help the Ministry of Health and the Government in making sure that people are taking the vaccines,” said Dr Firdous Khan of the Grenada Islamic Foundation.
The survey was conducted among 183 Islamic Foundation members during the period when only the AstraZeneca was available for age 18 and older. Recently, Grenada began offering the Pfizer for age 12 and above, and a new survey will soon be conducted to incorporate the individuals who are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
Admitting that the Foundation also had to develop a strategy to handle misinformation about the vaccine, Dr Khan said that the Foundation took the approach of educating its members using social media and not instructing from the pulpit.
“We been able to leverage the power of social media by using WhatsApp mostly to provide information to people, that is authentic. We also had to counter misinformation because I think at the time, we are dealing we 2 different types of pandemics — we are dealing with Covid-19 but at the same time we are dealing with misinformation,” he said during a joint news conference in which members of the various religious groupings and Government announced the new protocol for handling corpses of Covid-19 related deaths.
Sharing information about the level of vaccination within the Islamic Foundation he said, “We did not instruct from the pulpits to people that you should go and get vaccinated because I think what works best is if we are informed, we can make the decision and this can help people to make the decisions for themselves.”
“Vaccination is our biggest leverage. It’s time for us as religious leaders to recognise that power that we have to basically inform the decisions of people…And I think at this point there is no doubt that this is our only way forward as a country.” Dr Khan thinks that Grenada is fortunate to be having its first outbreaks almost 18 months after the first case was diagnosed in March 2020.
“I think we have been very fortunate that we got so much time to prepare,” he said. The AstraZeneca vaccine became available in Grenada in February 2021 but there has been hesitancy within the population. No other religious grouping has disclosed the percentage of its population that is vaccinated. “Unfortunately, a lot of us didn’t take the road to get vaccinated, I wish we had. So now after seeing the amount of deaths and the number of hospitalisations and the cases that are rising, I think that should serve as a strong reminder to everyone, that they should look for those means that God Almighty has given us.”
“Yes, we need to be very strong in our faith, but a part of that faith means that we should also use that means to get vaccinated,” he said. Dr Khan is a Professor at St George’s University, in the School of Veterinary Medicine.
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