A BRADFORD organisation is running a campaign alongside the district's different faith communities to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Volunteering Interfaith Programme (VIP) is joining leaders from Bradford's Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities, as the vaccine - which has now been taken by over two million people in the UK - continues to be rolled out.

VIP founder, Dr Javed Bashir, says the campaign comes amid some groups raising questions over the ethics of vaccination, and will involve faith leaders talking to members of the community and producing video messages encouraging people to take it.

"The vaccine has been widely cheered as marking the beginning of the end of the pandemic. With vaccines on the horizon, faith leaders could play a crucial role in promoting their use", Dr Bashir said.

"Faith communities can also play an important role, in relation to their members' well-being, and also to wider society.

"There is no doubt about COVID-19's severity. The vaccine is the only way to end it."

The VIP's members include figures from faith communities across Bradford - one of them is Mohammed Zubair, a teacher and administrator at Masjid Quba in Manningham.

"Refusing to get vaccinated is endangering oneself and others. Therefore, we urge British Muslims to get vaccinated", he said.

"A recent statement from the British Islamic Medical Association said there are no animal products in the vaccine and it does not contain any human embryonic cells, therefore confirming that Muslims are eligible for the jab, and should take up the offer."

Dr Manoj Joshi DL, of Bradford's Hindu community, expressed a similar view: "Hinduism has no prohibition against the vaccine. The vaccine is a godsend and is now the first ray of light after a very dark year", he said.

"I am in favour of taking it and I encourage my community to as well - in fact, I have already taken my first dose and feel completely well."

Reverend Nathan Javed, of GBM Churches, added: "As a Baptist Christian denomination, we have no theological objection to vaccination.

"As Christians, we should love our neighbours. Working together to get vaccinated, and encouraging others to do so, is a key part of that responsibility.”

Nirmal Singh MBE, Chairman of the Yorkshire Sikh Forum, also said: "COVID-19 had a huge impact on the Sikh community. Therefore, I encourage the Sikh community to take the vaccine, which will hopefully save lives and bring life back to normality."