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Two leading Muslim figures working in the NHS have joined other medical leaders and Islamic scholars in stressing that Ramadan should not stop anyone from getting the NHS coronavirus vaccination.
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, head of Chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust, and Dr Farzana Hussain, 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. Although this will be helpful for many, Hussain 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Vaccines are the best way to protect people from Coronavirus and are already saving thousands of lives and we want to make sure everybody can get a vaccine when it’s their turn – including those fasting this Ramadan.
“I know how important it is for people to be able to observe Ramadan as they would like so the government is working closely with local authorities, charities, faith and community groups to ensure people get the best advice and information about the Covid-19 vaccine, including on getting it. Vaccines are crucial in our fight against the virus and they help keep us and our loved ones safe, while enabling us to safely progress back to normal life.”
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