What a frontline doctor in Greater Manchester tells people who say they don’t want Covid vaccine
‘We’re fortunate that the state is offering that chance to protect our lives’
Dr Zahid Chauhan has worked non-stop throughout the pandemic and has a message to those who want to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine.
The devoted dad has personally seen hundreds of people who have lost their lives to the virus, including patients, friends and even family members.
Dr Chauhan is encouraging people to take the Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered to them to stop other families from going through the heartbreak of losing someone.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “When people come into my office and say they don’t want to get the vaccine I look at them and ask ‘so if you get Covid, what should I do at that stage? What should I think about?’
“We’re fortunate that the state is offering that chance to protect our lives.
“I’ve seen at least 1,000 people who’ve died from Covid, including some patients I’m the family doctor for – I’ve become part of their family, and when you lose them it really hurts.
“Go and ask their family members, or patients with Covid, about what they’ve been through and see if it doesn’t exist.”
In May 2020, Dr Chauhan was forced to bury his friend and colleague Dr Saad Al-Dubbaisi, a 59-year-old GP from Bury. Dr Al-Dubbaisi was the first GP to die from Covid-19 in Greater Manchester.
During the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Chauhan was called out to verify hundreds of deaths while working as the clinical lead for the death certification across the region.
He’d be called to care homes in the middle of the night. He said: “Personally it’s changed lots of things in my life.
“Seeing all these deaths and then going home and trying to sleep, I’d be thinking about what it must be like being on a ventilator and I’d see that in my dreams.
“It also made me more determined to carry out my work. I will do whatever I can and give 110%, I might not have tomorrow but I do have today.
“Vaccinating the first homeless person in the world against Covid-19 was one of the most powerful moments of my life.
“Just being able to speak on behalf of the people who can’t speak for themselves is so important – there’s no council of homeless to fight for their needs.
“We just want to help people, we don’t want them to die.”
Dr Chauhan worked hard to ensure homeless people had access to the vaccine, ensuring those not registered to a healthcare practitioner were considered.
He became the first person in the world to vaccinate a homeless person against Covid-19.
Now, the NHS have added homeless people to the priority list for vaccination.
Dr Chauhan has now turned his hand to dismantling myths and false information being spread about the vaccine. He said: “People queue up for antibiotics and will ask why they can’t have them and then you’re being offered something that can prevent the infection and some people are reluctant to have it.
“Some people are concerned about the vaccine changing your DNA – I’ve done hundreds of vaccinations and I’ve not seen anyone turn into monkeys or change in any way.
“There’s also no microchips in them, the state doesn’t have that kind of money.
“By not having the vaccination you’re not only making the wrong decision for yourself but for others as well.
“If you get infected you might affect my mother who’s poorly and make her very unwell – you wouldn’t like a drunk person driving behind you on the road would you?
“A lot of the time it’s not that people don’t want to take the vaccine, it’s just that they want their concerns to be addressed.”
Dr Chauhan spoke at the European Islamic Centre on Manchester Road at an event aimed to pass on the truth about vaccinations to key figures in the Muslim community.
The series was organised by chair of the Oldham Mosques Council, Abdul Basit Shah after it was found that just 28% of Muslims in the area said they would get the vaccine.
He said: “We sent a short survey around when the news of the vaccine approval hit and found that 50% of people wouldn’t take the vaccine, and 22% weren’t sure on whether they’d have it.
“It was alarming that there was a huge number of people who felt that way, so we started thinking about what we could do.
“People don’t know what to do, they get all kinds of information from all angles on social media, it’s taken over their lives.
“It’s in their hands, their pockets, it’s so easy for people to share misinformation that you can easily fact check but at that point the damage is done.
“We’re in repair mode now trying to make sure people have the right information, and can hear it from sources they trust far more than social media.”
Mufti Helal, coordinator for the OMC, added: “We have 30 imams who want to take the vaccine which is so important because so people look up to them, they’re role models in the community.
“That will outweigh all the misinformation on social media.
“The message is picking up and the messages we’ve received have become more positive, they were quite negative in the first week.
“Because we’re working with local leaders and local people, it’s working – people trust the local leaders and people seeing this won’t need to ask, they’ll trust that the vaccine is good for them if the people they trust think the same.
“This is a pandemic, we’re in it together and this is a chance from Allah, if we stay together and strong we will get through this.”
Manchester University students ‘forcefully dragged’ out of building by bailiffs
Manchester University students have been forced out of buildings on the grounds which they had locked themselves inside in a strike over rent.
Student protesters occupying a building at the University of Manchester were forcibly removed by court bailiffs this morning (Wednesday March 22nd).
Students in the ‘UoM Rent Strike’ group have been occupying the Simon building on Oxford Road since February 13th as part of an ongoing protest over rent costs and living conditions in university-owned accommodation.
Prior to that, they occupied a further three buildings on the campus before vacating them, and this week they also staged a ‘sit-in’ at the John Owens building and protested outside the Board of Governors.
The students are demanding a 30% cut to their rent dated back to October — a cap on rent for the next three years — for the university to aim to provide student halls that meet the NUS definition of ‘affordable’, and for no disciplinary action to be taken against strikers.
University officers began action to remove the students occupying the Simon Building last week. They say the action was illegal and was causing disruption to other students and staff.
On Monday, the High Court granted a possession order for the whole of the university’s South Campus with notice being served on the occupiers. However, the group said on social media that they had ‘no intention to leave the occupied Simon Building until forced by bailiffs’.
As reported in the Manchester Evening News, officers of the court arrived early on Wednesday morning to forcibly remove them. The group said the bailiffs ‘arrived with no warning’ at around 5.20am and after ‘forcing entry through the door’ they ‘expected the roughly 20 current occupiers to rapidly clear their belongings’.
“Occupiers refused to leave of their own accord, so bailiffs forcefully dragged and carried them out the building”, they said.
In a statement, the group said: “The University has made it clear that they would rather drag their students out of a building than listen to our concerns. The cost of living crisis isn’t going anywhere and neither are we. Occupations are only one of many tactics, and this eviction will not slow down our campaign one bit.”
The group calls on the university to ‘listen to the concerns of students and open negotiations with students engaged in the rent strike and occupations.’
A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “This morning officers of the High Court attended the Simon Building to enforce a court order, following a small group of students who had been illegally occupying rooms there since February 13th 2023.
“This action follows multiple requests to those occupying the building to leave, and court hearing papers being served on the occupiers on March 15th 2023. The Court granted the University a possession order on Monday, and copies of the order were served to the occupiers.
“We very much regret having to do this, but the situation has been going on for a significant amount of time and has caused ongoing disruption to students and the people who work in the building.”
The Rent Strike group claim that in January over 350 students at the university announced that they were withholding rent, which they say amounted to £500,000, in protest at bosses increasing the ‘already sky-high rent by up to £450 for the 2022 academic year.’
In a statement published on the university website last month, Patrick Hackett, Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer (RSCOO), said: “A small number of students are withholding rent from us, but the profile of rent payments in January 2023 remains wholly in line with those in previous periods.
“We are continuing to collect outstanding payments as normal, with the vast majority of our students having paid.”
Although he said the university ‘absolutely recognise that the shortage in supply of housing and particularly student accommodation is a national issue, and one which is affecting the whole of Greater Manchester.’
He also added: “We offer a wide variety of accommodation types, and our costs are very competitive both in the city and across our university peer group.
“We recognise the need to continually invest and there is ongoing investment in residences to update and modernise facilities as they age. Around £25m has been invested in refurbishments at Hulme Hall in the past 5 years, we are beginning a £20m programme of refurbishment work in Dalton Ellis and Oak House this summer and, have spent £90m on building Unsworth Park.
“Uttley House also saw £1.5m of refurbishment work to provide accommodation, a café and a study hub. We’re also working on a major investment and development strategy, to accelerate the planned modernisation of our student accommodation.”
Gary Neville ‘saves Mother’s Day’ after spotting woman struggling in city centre
Well done, Gary!
Gary Neville has been praised for saving Mother’s Day for one family after spotting a disabled woman struggling on her way to a restaurant.
Ann Knowles, 67, was unable to park outside the Fazenda Rodizio bar and grill in Manchester, as there were no spaces left on the busy day. She had to park an eight minute walk away.
The former Manchester United footballer and pundit spotted Ms Knowles visibly struggling as she was making her way to the city centre steak restaurant and stopped to help her into his car. He drove her to the front door so she could enjoy her day with her family.
Her daughter Sam Ward, from Irlam, was waiting inside for her when she received a phone call to say Neville had saved the day.
Ms Knowles, a United fan, said: “I was upset thinking we’ll have to forget dinner, but then my daughter rang and said ‘it’s ok Gary Neville the footballer is taking her’ and I was like ‘what?'”
“I said the actual footballer? Where did he come from? And she said he just appeared out of nowhere, obviously saw them struggling and said ‘you need help’. So he physically picked her up and gave her a lift to the door in this car.
“He delivered her to the restaurant and saved Mother’s Day. My dad was with my mum and he was in shock.”
Ms Knowles suffered a brain haemorrhage a year ago, which has left her unable to walk far. She had left her wheelchair at home thinking her family could park outside the restaurant, only to discover there were no spaces left.
Ms Ward said the family ‘legged it’ across the restaurant when the rest of the family arrived with Neville. “I’ve always supported Gary but this just made my day,” she said.
“My daughter’s boyfriend’s jaw was on the floor. I think he was a bit star-struck. It’s a bit of a crazy story, but ultimately we’re all really chuffed.”
Two girls aged 13 and 16 from Manchester killed in horror car crash
Four other people being taken to hospital
Two teenage girls from Manchester, 13 and 16, have been killed in a horror car crash, with four other people being taken to hospital.
The two teen girls died when the Vauxhall Corsa they were travelling in was involved in a collision with a Ford Fiesta on Buxton Road West, Disley, on Sunday afternoon.
The horrific incident happened at around 3.15pm and both drivers, and two other passengers in the Corsa, were taken to hospital. Police have arrested an 18-year-old man, who was driving the Corsa, on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
The teenagers’ families have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, Cheshire Police have said. The injuries suffered by both drivers – including a 20-year-old woman in the Fiesta – and the two passengers travelling in the Corsa, a woman aged 21 and a boy aged 14, are not believed to be life threatening.
Police sealed off the A6, between Light Alders Lane and Carr Brow in High Lane, following the tragedy on Sunday morning. The closure was in place for a number of hours while collision investigation work could be seen taking place.
The cordon covered the main entrance to Lyme Park. Police said there was no access to the main entrance from either side of the road closure. Officers are now appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
Flowers have been left near the scene of where the accident happened in memory of the two girls who lost their lives in the incident.