Muslim health care professionals and Islamic scholars have released guidance to say the COVID-19 vaccination does not break the Ramadan fast. The month of fasting, which began this week, stipulates that Muslims should abstain from ‘anything entering the body’ during daylight hours. But online advice from the Muslim Council of Britain stated that an injection administered into a muscle for non-nutritional purposes was permissible.
"Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as an intramuscular injection, the only route for the vaccines currently available does not invalidate the fast," it said, adding that Muslims were permitted to eat and drink during daylight hours should they experience significant side-effects after the injection.
‘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,’ said Dr Farzana Hussain, a GP from East London and a practising Muslim. ‘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.’
This latest attempt to address vaccine hesitancy comes as statistics show that Muslims are more likely than any other religious group to not have received the vaccine. The Office for National Statisitics (ONS) has found that Muslims were three times more likely to have not had the jab than Christians. The British Islamic Medical Association recently produced a COVID-19 vaccine mythbuster to address some of the fears in the Muslim community about them.
‘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,’ said Dr Hussain.
“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.’