Dubai, December 23: Vaccines developed to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) infection are permissible for Muslims even if they contain pork gelatin, the United Arab Emirates' highest Islamic authority, the UAE Fatwa Council, has said. Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, who heads the UAE Fatwa Council, has said that the coronavirus vaccines would not be subject to Islam's ban on pork-derived products because of the greater cause to "protect the human body", Associated Press reported.
The UAE Fatwa Council has ruled that the pork gelatin used in vaccines is considered medicine and not food. The ruling has come amid concern within the Muslim community over the use of porcine gelatin in COVID-19 vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies widely use pork-derived gelatin in vaccines as a stabilizer to ensure they remain safe and effective during storage and transport.
Notably, pork is prohibited under Islamic laws. 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. COVID-19 Vaccine: No Reason to Consider Vaccination in Children Based on Available Evidence, Says NITI Aayog.
Speaking to news agency Associated Press, Dr Harunor Rashid, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, said the majority consensus is that the vaccines or medicines containing pork gelatin are permissible under Islamic laws, as “greater harm” would occur if they weren’t used.