Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has had her first Covid-19 vaccination at our Cape Hill store – and now she’s encouraging everyone who’s eligible to get one too.
This picture of Malala being vaccinated by one of our pharmacy colleagues has been shared around the world, with more than 30,000 likes and retweets, as she wrote: "Just got my first Pfizer jab. If you’re eligible, do get your Covid-19 vaccine. Stay safe and keep others safe. #GetVaccinated”.
Our Pharmacy Superintendent Faisal Tuddy said: “Vaccine hesitancy is a big issue in BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities, one that all health professionals and a lot of organisations have been trying to address. That's why Malala's message is so important, so timely and so relevant."
Malala hit the headlines in 2012 at the age of 15 when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus in Swat Valley, Pakistan, and shot her in the head to try to stop her speaking out for the right of girls to education. She was flown to a hospital in Birmingham and, after making a recovery, settled with her family in the UK and continued her education campaign, becoming the youngest ever Nobel laureate in 2014.
Faisal said: "Malala is such a role model, and her message after being photographed having her first vaccine is a great way to set an example.”
"There's been a degree of historic mistrust over vaccines among BAME communities, but it's become more important and more of a challenge now because of the Covid pandemic. There's been a lot of scaremongering and this has caught the imagination of a lot of people.
"In tackling vaccine hesitancy building trust is important , so it's great to see people like Malala leading the way and making sure the right messages reach everyone.”
So far our Asda pharmacy teams have carried out more than 70,000 Covid vaccines at vaccination centres set up in our Cape Hill, Watford and Old Kent Road stores.
Faisal said: "The vaccine programme has been a huge success. What customers and patients have found attractive about these sites is the ability to be able to come to a location they are familiar with. A lot of these communities may not want to go to the mass vaccination sites on the edge of town, but they will go to their local supermarket which is around the corner from them. It's about access, familiarity and trust.
"Asda pharmacists have also been going into the local community to talk to people about the vaccine. We've gone into community centres and local mosques and explained the process, why they should be having it, how easy it is to have and generally allay their fears, this is such an important step in building trust”
"Our teams at these centres have been working been flat out, seven days a week, 12 hours day so I'd like to thank them all for their hard work during the pandemic."