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Muslims in Minnesota rush to get COVID-19 vaccine before Ramadan

Mosques and community organizations are moving quickly to connect Muslims in Minnesota to COVID-19 vaccine appointments before Ramadan begins next week.

The context: The month-long observance, which begins April 12, involves additional prayer, spiritual reflection, acts of charity, and fasting from dawn to dusk.

The problem: People are “chipping away at mosques” and praying in person after the pandemic cut off services last year, Imam Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, told Torey.

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Another factor: While many leaders and academics say getting the shot wouldn’t be a quick break – MAS Minnesota is linked with the fatwa giving the go-ahead – local organizers say some are still reluctant.

What is happening: Zaman lobbied the governor’s office for 7,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine in hopes of getting people fully immunized as soon as possible.

The results: In addition to building immunity in the community, the effort is making a difference in tackling vaccine reluctance.

  • Before the first clinic, Zaman had to convince people to sign up. Now, thanks to the “social buzz”, appointments fill up quickly.

And after: Zaman believes the strategy, along with public immunization events featuring local religious leaders, could help bridge the gaps in the shooting deployment so far.

  • “Doing it in the mosque creates emotional comfort,” he said. “People on the border say … well it’s in the mosque, so I’ll check it out.”

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter and faster on the most important news happening in their own backyards.

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