Britain’s senior Muslim scholar Professor Shahid Raza Naeemi OBE and Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood have both given the campaign their backing, as we aim to encourage as many people as possible to get their Covid-19 vaccinations before the planned lifting of lockdown restrictions on July 19.
Professor Naeemi, who lives in London but has been a regular visitor to Kirklees, is highly respected for his contributions over the last 50 years towards promoting interfaith dialogue between different cultures and religions.
The outbreak of Covid reinforced his passion around educating others to remain safe during the pandemic. He has also been quick to support the NHS Covid-19 vaccine rollout
“I am fully backing the Reporter series ‘Be a vaccine hero’ campaign,” he said. “It’s important we stay safe.
“I also want to take this opportunity to urge any Muslim residents from the former mill towns of Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton to book your vaccine appointments at the earliest possible opportunity if you have not already done so. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
“It’s very important as many people as possible are vaccinated before the next set of lockdown restrictions are lifted on July 19. Each and every one of us has to do our bit.
“I myself have had two doses of the AstraZeneca injection. It is perfectly safe.
“We need to make sure our schools, colleges and universities are ready to re-open at full normal capacity in September, and our places of worship can also fully re-open for public communal prayers without any further disruption.
“We must ensure our children can continue to play team sports at their local after-school clubs without any further restrictions, and our high street shops can also stay open without any further chaos.
“We must make sure our elderly family members are not facing any further isolation.
“The risk of future variants is serious. The only way forward at the moment to avoid any further lockdowns is to get vaccinated now.
“Let’s all get ready and move forward to build a better, safer and stronger Kirklees.”
The Kirklees Faith Network has also pledged its support, saying it is fully behind the campaign.
A spokesperson said: “It’s vital everyone is vaccinated well before the Autumn weather sets in.
"There is a real risk we may see a third wave sweeping across the British Isles, especially if the Indian variant develops into something serious.
“The vaccines should hopefully make this Indian Delta variant far less life-threatening.”
Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood said: “I would like to thank everyone at the Reporter for highlighting the importance of taking the jab.
“We all know that the vaccine is our way out of this pandemic.
“Incredibly, the vaccination programme has so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.
“I have now received both my jabs - and by getting the second dose of vaccine, it provides more than 90 per cent protection against serious illness from Covid.
“So I firmly encourage everyone to get the jab so we can beat this virus and return to normal.
“Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the health care professionals and volunteers across Kirklees.
“They continue to work incredibly hard to help administer the vaccine rollout.”