As COVID-19 vaccines become more readily available, Muslims should know, are COVID-19 vaccines halal? While the specifics vary between vaccines, they’re generally halal.
Unlike some vaccines, the ones for COVID-19 don’t contain gelatin from pigs or other haram substances. So don’t believe the rumours or theories going around about the vaccine ingredients.
Instead, read on to learn more about some of the vaccines and why they’re safe. You may want to consider reading the Australian Fatwa Council on Covid-19 Vaccine.
Why Is There a Concern?
Many Muslims have been curious about if COVID-19 vaccines are halal. Some vaccines in the past have used pork gelatin or other products from animals, which are prohibited substances in Islam.
When gelatin comes from a dhabiha animal it is halal. However, pork gelatin is one of the most common sources. Because of the history of vaccines using that ingredient, it’s easy to believe that the COVID-19 vaccines use it.
It also doesn’t help that people are claiming the vaccines contain gelatin. Fortunately, Muslims in Australia don’t have to worry about the vaccine being haram. However, it can help to know more about each vaccine.
The Pfizer Vaccine
The vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is halal as there are no vaccine components with animal origins. Its active ingredient is nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (mRNA), which comes from the nucleus of cells.
That ingredient is part of our normal cells, but the vaccine contains a message similar to the message the virus would deliver. If you get the virus after getting the vaccine, your body will know how to fight it off.
Other ingredients include salt, sugar, and water for the injection. Pfizer’s vaccine is safe and effective, and it’s worth it for Muslims to get.
Who Can Get It
Everyone 40 and older can get the Pfizer vaccine now. People under 40 can also get the vaccine if they fall into a priority group, such as health care workers, border workers, and age and disability care staff and residents.
Anyone else who has a disability or medical condition and is at least 16 years old may also receive the vaccine. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in the same age group are also eligible for Pfizer.
NDIS participants and their carers are also eligible as long as they’re 16 years or older. And people with temporary visas who are in Australia or allowed to return may also receive the vaccine.
How to Receive It
When you’re eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, you can schedule an appointment at a clinic near you. The clinic will screen you to make sure you can safely receive the shot.
Someone will give you the first dose of the vaccine and then provide you with more information on it. The health professional will then record your vaccination in a register, and the facility will monitor you for a short period.
Finally, you can book your second appointment for 21 days later. When you return to the clinic, you will follow the same steps for your next vaccine dose.
The AstraZeneca Vaccine
Another COVID-19 vaccine currently available in Australia is from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. This vaccine doesn’t use the same mRNA structures as the Pfizer.
However, it contains a non-infectious part of an adenovirus from a chimpanzee. Because of that, the production process does involve animals, but it doesn’t involve pigs or pork products.
Still, the vaccine is halal and safe to receive. Either way, Muslim experts and doctors have clarified that there aren’t any haram substances, and Muslims should do what’s best to protect others, which can mean receiving the vaccine.
Who Can Get It
Anyone who falls into the categories currently eligible for the Pfizer vaccine are also eligible for the AstraZeneca. If you’re between 18 and 39, you may choose the AstraZeneca shot over the Pfizer.
When doing so, a health professional will evaluate you to make sure you’re suitable for the vaccine. You must also consent to the vaccine verbally or in writing.
Adults under the age of 40 who don’t fall into a priority group due to their occupation or health status will need to wait. However, they will eventually become eligible.
How to Receive It
The initial steps for receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine are the same as those for the Pfizer. You will need to book an appointment at a clinic in your area when there’s an available appointment.
When you arrive, someone will talk over the vaccine and administer the shot. You then need to wait at the facility for them to monitor you for any reaction or side effects.
Before you leave, you can schedule your second appointment, which will differ between vaccines. The second dose of the AstraZeneca can happen four weeks to three months after the initial dose.
The Moderna Vaccine
While not currently available in Australia, Moderna has made another popular COVID-19 vaccine, and it is halal. The Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) must approve the vaccine for use.
Currently, it’s in the provisional determination stage, meaning Moderna is eligible to apply for provisional registration. Once that happens, the Australian government can release 10 million initial doses and 15 million booster doses.
Like the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna has shown to be safe in clinical trials, and other countries have already approved it. Odds are, Australia will follow suit after the company applies for registration.
Who Can Get It
No one can get the Moderna vaccine in Australia quite yet because it still needs TGA approval. It’s expected that people at least 12 years old will be able to receive the vaccine when their respective age group becomes eligible.
If the vaccine were to receive approval today, people eligible for the current vaccines could receive the Moderna. However, it may be a while before it receives approval.
Don’t let preferring the Moderna vaccine keep you from getting the COVID-19 vaccine when you’re eligible. It’s very similar to the Pfizer, which Australians can receive now.
How to Receive It
When the TGA approves the Moderna vaccine, you will be able to receive it the same way as you would the Pfizer or AstraZeneca. This vaccine requires two doses to be the most effective.
If you aren’t currently eligible for the vaccine, you can wait and see if Moderna becomes available. Then, you’ll have another option to receive protection from the virus.
Like Moderna, the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine isn’t available in Australia right now. It uses a protein that introduces part of a baculovirus from moths, so your body can learn to attack the spike protein of the dead virus that mimics COVID-19.
The vaccine is currently in the provisional registration phase, so it may be available in the future. People who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine may be eligible when Novavax.
While it does use a vaccine from insects, there isn’t any gelatin or other animal parts in it. It does need a second ingredient to be effective, but that ingredient is tree bark.
Who Can Get It
No one can receive the Novavax shot yet, but the Australian government has ordered doses. Some believe the TGA will approve the vaccine later this year, so people can receive it as another option.
When it becomes available, anyone eligible for it who hasn’t received another COVID-19 vaccine can get it. As with the Moderna, don’t force yourself to wait for Novavax.
If you’re currently eligible for a vaccine and have yet to receive one, you can schedule an appointment now. The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are both safe and effective.
How to Receive It
Once the vaccine is ready, the government will be able to start sending out doses. Australia has already ordered 51 million doses of Novavax, so there will a good supply ready.
However, like each of the other vaccines that Australia has approved, Novavax does involve two doses. Once you receive your first shot, you’ll need to schedule a second appointment for a month later.
When you return, you can follow the same steps to receive your shot. Then, you can have the most effective protection against COVID-19.
Are All COVID-19 Vaccines Halal?
Fortunately, all of the COVID-19 vaccines that are available in Australia now or are in testing are halal. Whether you’re eligible now or not, you can receive any of the shots without compromising on your beliefs.
Of course, you need to consider which vaccines are available when you’re eligible and where you live. If you can take the shot now, there’s no reason to wait for Moderna or Novavax.
However, you might want to take either of those if they become available by the time you are in an eligible group. Be sure to follow the updates on the vaccines and overall eligibility.
Which Vaccine Is the Most Effective?
Each COVID-19 vaccine is effective, though none are entirely effective at preventing the virus. Still, both available vaccines have high efficacies:
- Pfizer: 90 per cent
- AstraZeneca: 89 per cent
While the Pfizer vaccine is slightly more effective, the results shouldn’t deter you from receiving the AstraZeneca shot if it’s available to you. Either option can help you protect yourself and others.
You don’t have to worry about either being haram, so you can safely book an appointment when you’re eligible.
When Should You Get the Vaccine?
You should schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as your eligible. If you have a preference for one of the available options, you can consider that.
Look for a clinic near you and find a time when you can get the shot and wait while the facility monitors you. Then, you can help yourself and your community be as healthy as possible overall.
If you aren’t eligible yet, keep an eye on updates to know when you do qualify. That way, you don’t have to wait longer than necessary to receive a shot.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Vaccine?
While the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are halal and safe, some groups may not want to get the vaccine yet. Of course, children and teens aren’t yet old enough, so your kids will need to wait.
If you currently have COVID-19 or another infection, consider waiting until you’re well before you get any vaccination. Anyone who had a reaction to the first dose of a shot may want to avoid the second one.
Either way, speak with your doctor or another health professional about your situation. They may say you’re fine to take the vaccine.
How Long Does the Vaccine Protection Last?
Sadly, experts don’t know how long the COVID-19 vaccines will provide protection. It’s possible that a booster shot will be necessary after some time, but the shot may last much longer.
Some vaccines may offer protection longer than others, so the shot you get may affect your protection. A lot of information is unknown because of how new the vaccines are.
As the vaccines go through more trials and testing, we’ll learn more about the long-term effects. Be sure to follow the news and speak with your doctor if you have any questions about vaccine protection and future shots.
What Else Should You Consider?
You might also want to consider the schedule and amount of time between the first and second doses. While the Pfizer vaccine includes two shots three weeks apart, others have a much longer break.
If you receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, you can wait up to 12 weeks before the second shot. However, you can receive it as early as four weeks after the initial dose.
Women who are or plan to become pregnant should speak with a health professional. Some people disagree on whether it’s safe to receive the vaccine while pregnant.
Which Vaccine Will You Receive?
Whether you’re currently eligible or not, you may wonder, are COVID-19 vaccines halal? Luckily, the vaccines are halal, and claims that they’re haram don’t have any evidence to back them up.
Muslims inshallah can safely receive the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine without compromising their religious beliefs. And while they’re not available yet, Moderna and Novavax vaccines are also halal.
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