Two leading Muslim figures working in the NHS have today joined other medical leaders and Islamic scholars in stressing that Ramadan should not stop anyone from getting the NHS Covid vaccination.
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Dr Farzana Hussian, a senior GP, stressed that getting the jab does not break the fast observed by Muslims during daylight hours over Ramadan.
Some NHS vaccination sites across England are extending their opening hours so that Muslims can receive the jab after they have eaten and make it easier for people to find a convenient slot.
However, Dr Hussain a practising Muslim who works at The Project Surgery in East London, said that there was no need to avoid daylight hours and it is a religious duty for Muslims to get vaccinated when their turn comes.
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.
“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.”
The British Islamic Medical Association, an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain, has issued specific advice, recommending the vaccine and insisting it is okay to have during Ramadan as it is not nutritional, nor does it contain any animal or foetal products. Full ingredient lists are published by the MHRA.
Dr Hussain said: “Numerous studies have proven that the vaccine is safe and effective with minimal side effects. Anyone concerned about requiring painkillers should remember that while side effects are unlikely, breaking the fast to take medication is allowed during Ramadan if you are unwell, regardless of the cause.
“Vaccination clinics are also extending their hours in response to make the vaccine as accessible as possible to everyone. The Covid-19 vaccine could help save your life so it is vital you don’t delay your appointment when invited.”
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “This Ramadan will continue to be different. 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.
“If you have concerns about the vaccine, please talk to a healthcare professional and make an informed decision. I would like to extend my best wishes to all, especially my colleagues working in the NHS, for the month of Ramadan – Ramadan Mubarak.”