13 April 2021
The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has issued specific advice recommending the Covid-19 vaccine and saying it is fine to have during the holy month of Ramadan, which started on the evening of 12 April 2021, as it is not nutritional and does not contain any animal or foetal products.
To reassure the Muslim community, BIMA has reviewed the analysis of Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast. BIMA stressed that the vaccine does not contain pork or other animal, foetal or alcohol products, reflecting the advice of the majority of Islamic scholars that it is permissible. Further BIMA information and advice is available here.
Certain NHS Covid-19 vaccination sites across England have extended their opening hours so that Muslims can receive their vaccination after they have eaten and to make it easier for people to find a convenient slot. But GPs from The Project Surgery in East London have said that there is no need to avoid daylight hours and that it is a religious duty for Muslims to get vaccinated when their turn comes.
The Project Surgery Senior GP and practising Muslim, Dr Farzana Hussain, said: “Getting an injection does not break the fast as it’s not nutrition and so there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have it if you are eligible and have been invited for your Covid-19 vaccine and those scheduled for their second dose, should take it.”
She added: “The Koran says saving your life is the most important thing: to save one life is to save the whole of humanity. It’s a responsibility of a practising Muslim to take their vaccine.”
Other leading Muslim figures working in the NHS, including Barts Health NHS Trust Head of Chaplaincy Imam Yunus Dudhwala, joined Dr Hussain in stressing that Ramadan should not stop anyone from getting the NHS Covid-19 vaccination. Imam Yunus Dudhwala said: “The vast majority of scholars have deemed taking the vaccine whilst fasting as permissible and stated that it does not break the fast. The experts have stated that the Covid-19 vaccine is effective and the best way of protecting yourself and your loved ones. I ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to consider taking the vaccine when called.”
He asked people to talk to a healthcare professional and make an informed decision if they have concerns about the vaccine.
Primary Care National Medical Director and GP Dr Nikki Kanani said: “The largest vaccination programme in NHS history has been a huge success since its inception but we must continue to challenge misinformation and advocate the vaccine as being entirely appropriate to have during Ramadan.” She stressed: “It is vital that people of all faiths feel able to come forward and get the vaccine.”
The NHS’s efforts to encourage uptake among ethnic minorities include engaging with community and faith leaders, translating materials into 20 languages and reaching communities with pop-up clinics and in places of worship.
Clinics have included Mosques such as those in Finsbury Park, Croydon and Brent, with lslamic scholars including East London Mosque’s Sheikh Mohammed Mahmoud OBE and Chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board Imam Qari Asim.
More information from NHS England is available here.
Ingredient lists for the vaccines are published by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):