British Muslims urged to have COVID jab during Ramadan

Official figures out last month, show UK Muslims and Buddhists are least likely to accept the vaccine compared to other faiths
Monday 12/04/2021
Worshippers attend socially distanced Friday Prayers at the Baitul Futuh Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Community in south west London on January 22, 2021. AFP
Worshippers attend socially distanced Friday Prayers at the Baitul Futuh Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Community in south west London on January 22, 2021. (AFP)

LONDON--Members of Britain’s Muslim community are being urged get vaccinated and to use new rapid testing kits during Ramadan to help detect further cases of COVID-19.

The holy month of Ramadan starts on Monday April 13, coinciding with the easing in the UK of tough lockdown measures, along with the availability of twice a week, lateral flow tests to help identify those with the virus but not displaying any symptoms.

To boost the uptake of coronavirus vaccinations and rapid testing by Muslims, the UK National Heath Services’ (NHS) Race and Health Observatory and the Muslim Doctors Association are distributing a new graphic poster to NHS vaccination centres, mosques, religious and community groups that provides advice on vaccination and testing during Ramadan.

Although recent research demonstrates an increase in vaccine acceptance from ethnic minority groups in Britain, official figures out last month, show Muslims and Buddhists are least likely to accept the vaccine compared to other faiths. It found the lowest rates of vaccination were among adults aged over 70 identifying as Muslim (72.3%) and Buddhist (78.1%).

“Now is the time to put faith to the test, preserve life and trust the opinion of Islamic scholars and mosque committees who have confirmed both the vaccination and lateral flow tests will not invalidate or break the Ramadan fast” said the Race and Health Observatory’s Doctor Habib Naqvi.

He added “We have lost too many mosque worshippers and with ethnic minority people already at increased risk of coronavirus, we urge the Muslim community not to heighten that risk by not taking up the opportunity of free rapid testing from home and by taking up the vaccine offer when it comes.”

The poster that is being distributed assures Muslims that a nasal or throat swab does not break their fast.  It is also pointed out that receiving a vaccination does not nullify the fast as it is given into muscle and has no nutritional value.  Moreover the poster emphasises that all COVID-19 vaccines are halal and contain no animal products.

Naqvi urged “I strongly encourage Muslims who are able to take their vaccination and lateral flow tests during this holy month to do so and help protect themselves and their community. Any concerns about vaccination or rapid test results can be discussed with GPs and healthcare professionals, we are here to support patients make informed decisions”.