Scholars from some of the most influential Islamic seminaries in the UK have said that the new Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is halal because the government has confirmed that it does not contain any components of animal origin.
The fatwa is signed by Deobandi scholars Yusuf Shabbir and Mufti Shabbir Ahmad of Darul Uloom Blackburn, Mufti Muhammad Tahir of Darul Uloom Bury, and NHS consultant Mawlana Kallingal Riyad.
They said: “We contacted the Pfizer company requesting a breakdown of the ingredients which were shared with us. These are also available on this link. Initially, the only ingredient of concern was cholesterol, because it can be sourced from animal fat although it is normally sourced from the eggs of hens.
“The aforementioned statement from the Government confirms that it is not sourced from animal fat, therefore it is Halal. The company has also confirmed this in an email to us which states: ‘All lipid excipients used in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 are either from plant-derived sources or are synthetic. The vaccine contains no animal components.’
“Please note that this answer is specific to the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine based on its current ingredients, and does not necessarily extend to other forthcoming vaccines.
“Please also note that this answer is regarding the Islamic permissibility of the vaccine. The decision to use the vaccine is a personal decision for each individual to make. It is recommended that individuals read the patient information leaflet to understand the benefits and risks and also discuss with medical professionals should they require further information.”
The fatwa comes as people in the UK will begin to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday.
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Front-line health staff, those aged over 80, and care home workers will be first in line for the vaccine.
In England, 50 hospitals have been initially chosen to serve as hubs for administering it.
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will also begin their vaccination programmes from hospitals on Tuesday.
On Monday, the government announced a further 14,718 people had tested positive for the virus, while a further 189 people had died within 28 days of a positive test – taking the total by that measure to 61,434.