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 Covid vaccination.
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, head of chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust, and senior GP Dr Farzana Hussian have stressed that getting the jab does not break the fast during daylight hours over Ramadan, a statement said.
According to the NHS, some vaccination sites across England are extending their opening hours so that Muslims can receive the jab.
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. 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.”
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.
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.
The NHS has started efforts on encouraging uptake among ethnic minorities spearheaded by director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani.
This includes engaging with community and faith leaders, translating materials into 20 languages and reaching communities with pop-up clinics and in places of worship, including Mosque’s such as those in Finsbury Park, Croydon and Brent.
lslamic scholars including Sheikh Mohammed Mahmoud OBE of East London Mosque and Imam Qari Asim, chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board supporting the call to get the Muslim community vaccinated.
The NHS has run successful campaigns supported by BBC’s Adil Ray and Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain. There was a sharp increase in uptake of around 20 per cent among Asian, and Bangladeshi communities in particular, from late February as a result, the NHS said.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and national medical director for primary care 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.”
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.”
Almost 27 million people have been vaccinated since the launch of the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS last December.