On 28th January, a Hindu temple in Kingsbury was reportedly the first in Europe to open as a Covid-19 vaccination with the aim to immunise more than 1,300 people a day. The multi-function hall at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, in Kingsbury Road, which has been provided to Harness Care, a group of 20 GP practices working together to run the vaccination programme for Brent residents.
NHS England has been fearful of disinformation and misinformation around the vaccine that has been causing some skepticism within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) to reject the vaccine.Temple trustee Dr Mahesh Varsani, an immunologist and researcher in cell and gene therapies, in a statement to Kilburn Times said, “This centre aims to carry out thousands of vaccinations a week, while at the same time address any concerns people may have. Everything we know about the vaccine is that it is safe and effective, and none of its components or manufacturing processes contravenes Hindu doctrine. Some members of the South Asian community may have longstanding concerns that tend to go back generations.“But in the same way, this temple, through the messaging of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj starting in 2000, dispelled myths about Hindus donating body organs and blood; we will do the same for these vaccines. This vaccination centre has been inspired by the temple’s founder, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, and strongly encouraged by our current spiritual leader Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj, who himself has registered to receive the vaccine in India. Through this, he aims to dispel false information that the vaccine is somehow forbidden for Hindus and he has been encouraging all people to selflessly take the vaccine as it becomes offered.”Community members have also stepped forward as volunteers for stewarding as well as administering vaccines to relieve pressure off NHS staff.