Concern among Muslims over the halal status of COVID-19 vaccine



While Indonesian diplomats went to China on October to finalise deals to ensure millions of doses reached Indonesian citizens, the clerics had a much different concern: Whether the COVID-19 vaccine was permissible for use under Islamic law.

As companies race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and countries scramble to secure doses, questions about the use of pork products banned by some religious groups have raised concerns about the possibility of disrupted immunisation campaigns.

Pork-derived gelatin has been widely used as a stabilizer to ensure THAT vaccines remain safe and effective during storage and transport.

Some companies have worked for years to develop pork-free vaccines: Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has produced a pork-free meningitis vaccine, while Saudi- and Malaysia-based AJ Pharma is currently working on one of their own.

Spokespeople for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have said that pork products are not part of their COVID-19 vaccines. But limited supply and preexisting deals worth millions of dollars with other companies mean that some countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, will receive vaccines that have not yet been certified to be gelatin-free.

In China, none of the COVID-19 vaccines has been granted final market approval, but more than 1 million health care workers and others, deemed at high risk of infection, have received vaccines under emergency use permission. The companies have yet to disclose how effective the vaccines are or possible side effects. (PTI)


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