Covid-19 Vaccination Concern–Is it Halal?

There is a great news article in Arab News about the ingredients in the Covid-19 vaccines. Muslims and Jews share the concern about pork products being used as stabilizers, an ingredient found in many vaccines. According to this article, Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have reported that they are not using pork products or gelatin made from pork in this vaccine. I think this brings up some good points. You hear a lot about the vaccine coming out, now it’s out, who’s getting it first, how much is being made, how fast can it get to healthcare providers, etc., but not much on what ingredients it contains. It is deemed safe, and there are general side effects like that with a flu vaccine, but how can we know what is in it? What are the possibilities also for allergies?

Here are some excerpts from the article in Arab News. You can read the entire article at:

“Concern among Muslims over halal status of COVID-19 vaccine”

“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 — has raised concerns about the possibility of disrupted immunization campaigns.”

“Pork-derived gelatin has been widely used as a stabilizer to ensure 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.”

“This presents a dilemma for religious communities, including Orthodox Jews and Muslims, where the consumption of pork products is deemed religiously unclean, and how the ban is applied to medicine, he said.”

“There’s a difference of opinion amongst Islamic scholars as to whether you take something like pork gelatin and make it undergo a rigorous chemical transformation,” Waqar said. “Is that still considered to be religiously impure for you to take?”

“The majority consensus from past debates over pork gelatin use in vaccines is that it is permissible under Islamic law, as “greater harm” would occur if the vaccines weren’t used, said Dr. Harunor Rashid, an associate professor at the University of Sydney.”

“There’s a similar assessment by a broad consensus of religious leaders in the Orthodox Jewish community as well.”

“According to the Jewish law, the prohibition on eating pork or using pork is only forbidden when it’s a natural way of eating it,” said Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar, a rabbinical organization in Israel.”, 20 Dec. 2020

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