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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’

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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?’

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“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.

“When people say Covid doesn’t exist I see all those faces – the faces of elderly people in care homes I’ve gone to in the middle of the night to verify the deaths of.

“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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Man arrested after mum pushing pram stabbed and killed in broad daylight

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder

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West Yorkshire Police

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man wanted for the fatal stabbing of a woman while she was pushing her baby in a pram in Bradford.

Police have arrested a suspect, following the murder of Kulsuma Akter, 27. Akter was stabbed several times in the Westgate area of Bradford city centre on Saturday afternoon. 

The mother was rushed to hospital, where despite the best efforts of medics, she sadly succumbed to her injuries. Her baby was unharmed in the incident.

It has also emerged that suspect, Habibur Masum, was on bail for assaulting and threatening to kill her at the time of the attack.

West Yorkshire Police

Masum was conditionally bailed by Manchester Magistrates’ Court in November, despite prosecutors objecting to his release, it is understood.

Court documents show Masum, whose address was listed as Oldham, Greater Manchester, was charged with assaulting Ms Akter on November 23rd and threatening to kill her on November 24th.

Both incidents are alleged to have happened in Greater Manchester. Police had previously confirmed the couple were known to each other but have not confirmed their relationship. 

Masum attended a hearing on November, 27th 2023, where he pleaded not guilty to both offences and was ordered not to contact Ms Akter, it is understood.

West Yorkshire Police

His bail conditions also prevented him from contacting a second person, or visiting a particular address.

Greater Manchester Police has said it is supporting West Yorkshire Police with the ongoing murder investigation.

Both forces have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog over previous contact with Masum and Ms Akter.

Detective Superintendent Jude Holmes, from GMP Oldham district, said: “We share the shock and concern that our communities feel in the wake of this tragic incident, and our thoughts are with Kulsuma Akter’s family at this truly distressing time.

“Habibur Masum is wanted by West Yorkshire Police on suspicion of murder. Due to his links to Greater Manchester, we have our specialist officers following several lines of enquiry to locate him.

“I urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and if you have any information on his whereabouts, call 999 as a matter of urgency.

“Due to previous police contact with Habibur Masum and Kulsuma Akter, Greater Manchester Police has made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”

Police have arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A 23-year-old man was also arrested in Cheshire on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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Hunt for murder suspect after mum pushing pram killed in broad daylight

It is not clear whether is Masum is armed as police warn not to approach him

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West Yorkshire Police

Police are searching for a man from Oldham after a mum was stabbed to death in Bradford while pushing her baby in a pram.

Habibur Masum, 25, is wanted over the attack which took place in the Westgate area of Bradford at 3.21pm on Saturday (April 6th).

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken to hospital where she sadly died of her injuries, West Yorkshire Police said.

West Yorkshire Police

The force also confirmed the baby was not harmed in the attack as the public is warned not to approach Masum.

It is understood Masum was known to the victim although police have not confirmed their relationship at this time. A knife was found at the scene but it is unclear if he is armed.

Masum was pictured on CCTV wearing a grey hooded, zip-up coat with three large horizontal lines of grey, white and black on it, grey tracksuit bottoms with a black logo and burgundy trainers. 

West Yorkshire Police

A witness also reported seeing him wearing a grey hoodie with the hood up shortly after the incident on Westgate, at the junction with Drewton Road.

Masum is from Oldham and is believed to have links to Burnley and Chester. He is described as an Asian man, of slim build.

Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: “We have had significant resources following up a number of lines of inquiry to locate Habibur Masum but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.

“I would urge anyone who does see him not to approach him but to call 999 immediately.”

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She said the death of such a young woman in the ‘most awful circumstances’ will ‘understandably cause concern in the local community’.

Detective Chief Inspector Atkinson Added: “I would like to reassure the wider public that we are working tirelessly to investigate this horrendous crime and bring the person responsible to justice.

“To help us with this we are urging anyone who was in the area who may have dashcam footage or seen or heard something, however small it may seem, to please come forward.

“A scene remains in place which includes some road closures and I thank the public for their patience while we conduct our enquiries.”

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Man arrested in murder investigation after human torso found in Salford nature reserve

A man in his 20s is being questioned by police

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a human torso was found wrapped in plastic in a nature reserve in Salford.

As detectives continue to investigate the discovery of human remains found by a passerby on Thursday, April 4th, a man in his 20s from Salford was taken into custody on Saturday evening for questioning, Greater Manchester Police say.

DNA testing is being carried out to determine the identity of the victim, who is believed to be a male ‘likely to be aged older than 40’ and ‘has only been deceased for a matter of days’, officers say.

@gmpolice / X

GMP says it is conducting a thorough search of the area by utilising local officers and specialist branches including search dogs and assistance from underwater search teams, to help comb the site.

The force says although it has ‘not found anything else that is of interest to the investigation’, ‘work will not stop’ until it is certain the area has been thoroughly searched.

Chief Superintendent Tony Creely, of GMP’s Salford district, said: “The arrest we made yesterday evening is an important step for our investigation, but we must keep an open mind and a big part of this is speaking to anyone who may have crucial information.

“As we continue to work in the area, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their concern and cooperation so far, and we are mindful this is a disturbing incident for the local community, but I can assure you that since we were made aware, we’ve been pursuing every single line of enquiry to help us find out what has happened.

“I cannot stress the importance of people contacting us with information if they know anything at all. You may have information that you don’t feel is of importance, but it could be to us, please pass it on, it could be the key piece of information we need to progress this investigation.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed something suspicious in the Kersal Dale area over the last few days is urged to call GMP on 101 and quoting log number 2695 of April, 4th 2024.

A dedicated portal for anyone to submit images or video footage which could help police can be found HERE.

 

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