Muslims observing Ramadan are being urged to get a Covid-19 jab if it is being offered to them, with Muslim scholars and health professionals advising that it does not amount to breaking the fast.
During the month of Ramadan, which begins today, many Muslims abstain from food and drink during daylight hours.
Some are concerned that getting the vaccine during daylight hours will be considered breaking the fast, which has prompted some NHS vaccine sites – including Nottingham and Brighton – to extend opening hours.
However, Qari Asim, an imam in Leeds and chair of the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board, has attempted to alleviate concerns by advising the Muslim community that getting the jab does not invalidate the fast because it enters the muscle, not the bloodstream, and is not nutritious.
“If you are eligible for the vaccine and have received your invite, you need to ask yourself: do you take the vaccine which has proven to be effective or do you risk catching Covid, which can make you quite ill, and you may potentially miss the whole of Ramadan and possibly end up in hospital?” he told the BBC.
Dr Farzana Hussain, a senior GP from The Surgery Project in east London, said: “We know that a lot of Muslims are a bit concerned about having their Covid vaccination during Ramadan.
“The Quran 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.”
The advice comes as the NHS vaccine booking system has now opened up to people over the age of 45.