The UAE’s highest Islamic authority has issued a ruling allowing Muslims to receive coronavirus vaccines containing pork gelatin, the Emirates News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Consumption of pig products is considered haramor forbidden to Muslims under Islamic law. Despite this, the UAE Fatwa Council issued an Islamic decision, or fatwa, who this week explained that Muslims are allowed to receive coronavirus vaccines containing “non-halal” or illicit ingredients such as pork gelatin in the absence of alternatives.
Council President Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah cited the higher need to “protect the human body” during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Council noted that in this case, pork gelatin is considered a medicine, not a food.
Coronavirus vaccination is classified under preventive medicine for individuals, as recommended by the Islamic faith, especially in times of pandemic diseases, when the healthy happen to be prone to infections due to the high risk of getting the disease, which poses a risk to the whole society, ”said the UAE Fatwa Council, according to Saudi Arabia al-Arabiya.
Page COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] is a highly contagious disease that puts thousands of lives at risk, the use of vaccines is acceptable, ”the Emirates News Agency quoted the council as saying.
Pork-derived gelatin is widely used in vaccines as a stabilizer; it is intended to ensure that vaccines remain safe and effective during transport and storage.
The UAE Fatwa Council’s decision this week comes amid growing concerns that the use of pork gelatin in coronavirus vaccines could hamper immunization efforts among Muslims. Islam considers the consumption of pork products to be religiously unclean.
In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, some Muslims still hesitate to receive vaccinations containing pork gelatin “even when the Muslim government issues guidelines that they are allowed,” the Associated Press reported on December 20.
Governments in other Southeast and South Asian nations with large Muslim populations, such as Malaysia and Pakistan, have responded to such reluctance by passing stricter laws requiring parents to vaccinate their children or face sanctions, including fines and imprisonment.
Indonesia has already said it will include the country’s top Muslim office body during the government’s coronavirus vaccine procurement and certification process.
“We should consider the public perception of the halal status of potential COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccines, ”Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in October.
“Public communication about halal status, price, quality and distribution must be well prepared,” Widodo added.