IMA ‘Drive-Thru’ gaining popularity as hundreds line up to be vaccinated

The Islamic Medical Association (Durban) has gone on an educational campaign to clear up misconceptions and fears about the Covid vaccinations – and it’s paying off, writes an Al Qalam Reporter.

The Islamic Medical Association of Durban together with its partners have vaccinated over 1 500 people during its first ever drive-through project in the city – and they are urging more people to vaccinate because “it was the best hope for lessening the impact of the pandemic.”

The “IMA Drive-Thru” covid vaccination progrmme was carried out in conjunction with the Department of Health, the NMJ Islamic Centre and “a team of fantastic medical and non-medical volunteers” on August 22 and 29.

Over 1500 people were vaccinated with the J & J and Pfizer vaccines over the two Sundays.

An IMA spokesman told Al Qalam: “The overall response from the public was excellent. Average waiting time was 20 to 30 minutes and the convenience of not having to wait in long and crowded queues whilst in the comfort and safety of one’s car made it a huge success. It was a great learning and empowering experience for all the volunteers who gladly sacrificed their Sundays in the service of our community to help fight the Covid pandemic. Experiences learnt here can now be shared with other groups to allow the expansion of this ‘IMA Drive-Thru’ experience.

“We had a team of over 50 medical and non-medical volunteers. Our medical team consisted of specialist doctors, general practitioners, nurses and pharmacists whilst our non-medical volunteers comprised other professionals and students”, an IMA spokesman said.

He said there has been much confusion and hesitance in the community regarding vaccines. Throughout the pandemic the IMA has maintained a clear stance: “We encourage all to vaccinate against Covid in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. Our social media and marketing campaigns have also been consistent in our messaging to the public.

“This latest vaccine drive, which included volunteers from a diverse range of medical backgrounds, further affirms that as a collective we unequivocally encourage the community to vaccinate. Given the scientific evidence we have at this time, this is, God-Willing, the best hope for lessening the impact of the pandemic.”

Disease

The IMA pointed out that its “Vaccine Education Webinar” with local experts (Prof S Madhi, Prof AG Mahomed, Mufti Z Pandor and Mufti S. Jakhura) was viewed thousands of times on its YouTube channel.

Dr Mohamed Raiman, anaesthesiologist and one of the organisers of the IMA Drive Thru said: “After seeing many patients in our ICU’s succumb to Covid, I realised that there is unfortunately little we can do once they already have severe Covid. Vaccination to prevent severe disease is the only strategy at present. So, as the IMA we decided to encourage vaccination by firstly clearing up misconceptions and fears and then making it as easy as possible for people to get the vaccine at the IMA Drive Thru.

The IMA spokesman said during the 2nd wave many health care workers (HCW) and colleagues had died due to Covid.

“After the HCW vaccine roll-out we have seen how effective vaccines are in preventing severe disease. Sadly, our ICU’s are currently full with those who are unvaccinated.” 

Ebrahim Mulla, a partner at PWC Durban, commented on why he volunteered at the IMA Drive-Thru. “I wanted to assist in fighting the Covid pandemic. I have personally lost close family members and want to do my part in preventing others from also losing loved ones.” 

The IMASA has extended its gratitude to everybody involved in this initiative, including volunteers and partners, in particular the Department of Health KZN, and the NMJ Islamic Centre.

The next IMA Drive-Thru will be held on September 25 and 26th at the Port Shepstone Islamic School Hall at 32 Robin Rd, Albersville, from 8am-to 3pm.

*Check their social media accounts for the announcement of the next venue.

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