Sentara partners with Muslim community to offer vaccines while still observing cultural traditions

COVID-19 Vaccine

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Access to a COVID-19 vaccine is critical in getting Virginia vaccinated, but the available hours to get a shot may be limited for those observing religious traditions.

On Friday, Sentara Healthcare hosted a private clinic on the Virginia Peninsula that allowed the Muslim community to get their shot without compromising their beliefs.

Sentara partnered with the Peninsula Islamic Community Center to bring vaccines to those observing Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer.

We’re told about 100 people got their shot at the event.

“People are very happy. They’re very excited. They never expected that these resources would be brought here and that people would be so culturally considerate,” said Naved Jafri, PICC president.

The Islamic tradition of Ramadan began this week. During the month of deep reflection, Muslims will fast from sunrise until sunset. For some, that’s a potential barrier to getting vaccinated.

“Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for us and fasting is a pillar of our religion and our faith. So they would rather sacrifice getting a shot than not being able to fast,” Jafri said.

Sentara, city leaders and PICC partnered to make sure everyone who wanted a shot got it.

“Everyone came together as a community for the needs of the community — not only in the reference for their need of the vaccine but their spiritual needs as well,” said Dr. Jordan Asher, with Sentara Healthcare.

Many people at the event were due for their second dose of the vaccine.

We’re told about 70 people who attended would’ve potentially missed out on getting their shot had this event not been available.

“They had some extra so there are some people who are getting their first shot as well,” Jafri said.

Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) attended the event. He said leaders have worked hard to make sure vaccine access is available for all.

“It’s events like this that make sure that every community within Hampton Roads has an equitable opportunity to get the vaccine,” Scott said.

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Senatara COVID-19 Infographic (Dec. 2020)

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