Getting a coronavirus vaccine during Ramadan is safe for Muslims, a centre set up to investigate the impact of race and ethnicity on people’s health has said.
The NHS Race and Health Observatory said it had been made aware of inquiries about vaccine uptake during the 30-day holy period.
This year, Ramadan starts on April 12 and lasts until May 12.
Concerns had been raised about whether the act of getting the vaccine would break the fast, as well as potential side effects of feeling unwell after being vaccinated, and reservations about taking daily pain relief medication.
We do not want to put these communities at any unnecessary risk by not accepting their first or second dose of the vaccination if offeredDr Habib Naqvi
Dr Habib Naqvi, director observatory, said: “We need to tackle and address early concerns raised by Muslim communities who may be offered their vaccinations whilst fasting and working in frontline and supporting roles.
“There is no reason why a first or second dose vaccine cannot be administered during Ramadan. The content is halal, and receiving it will not invalidate the Ramadan fast, as per the opinion of Islamic scholars.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has required sacrifices from all NHS staff. Muslims have additional challenges during Ramadan by having to function without sustenance during working hours.
“We do not want to put these communities at any unnecessary risk by not accepting their first or second dose of the vaccination if offered.”
The Observatory said Ramadan is one of a number of forthcoming faith periods and festivals, including Passover, Easter, Vaisakhi and Eid – which marks the end of Ramadan – which is likely to be celebrated amid some Covid-19 restrictions and adapted practices.
Dr Hina Shahid, chair of the Muslim Doctors Association, said: “This has been a unique time globally, with festivals of Ramadan and Eid occurring during the peak of Covid-19.
“Muslims and other faith communities have met these challenges head on; it was inspiring to see the community using technology for prayer and sharing images of iftar with family and friends at the start of the pandemic.
“Obviously, during the pandemic these festivities and norms have been very different.
“Vaccination is one of our biggest tools to make sure we can go back to normal soon, including celebrating festivals with our loved ones when it is safe to do so.
“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they get called, including during Ramadan, and to discuss any concerns with their GP.”
Dr Naqvi said the virus had “made many of our black and minority ethnic communities even more vulnerable”.
He added: “If coronavirus restrictions remain in place this Ramadan, the message is, whether working or shielding, take the vaccine and help protect yourself and your community.”