Receiving a Covid-19 vaccine does not break the fast observed during daylight hours over Ramadan, GPs and health leaders have said.
Several NHS vaccine sites are extending their opening hours during Ramadan – which begins Monday (12 April) and is observed until 12 May – to make it easier for people to find a convenient slot later in the evening.
However, Dr Farzana Hussain, a practising Muslim and GP at The Project Surgery in East London, said that there was no need to avoid daylight hours when arranging a vaccine appointment.
She said: ‘Getting an injection does not break the fast as it’s not nutrition and so there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have it if you are eligible and have been invited for your Covid-19 vaccine and those scheduled for their second dose, should take it.
‘It’s a responsibility of a practising Muslim to take their vaccine.’
Dr Farzana also noted that if painkillers are needed to manage side effects, breaking the fast to take medication is allowed during Ramadan if someone is unwell, regardless of the cause.
The British Islamic Medical Association has also previously said that patients can receive the jab during Ramadan as it is not nutritional, and does not contain animal products.
Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust, said today: ‘This Ramadan will continue to be different. The vast majority of scholars have deemed taking the vaccine whilst fasting as permissible and stated that it does not break the fast.
He added: ‘If you have concerns about the vaccine, please talk to a healthcare professional and make an informed decision.’
In February, Dr Farzana had begun personally phoning every eligible patient who had yet to take up the offer of a vaccination, including those whose uncertainty was based on religious grounds.
In March, the NHS published its blueprint to reduce uptake hesitancy – led by Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and national medical director for primary care – which included engaging with faith leaders and installing pop-up clinics in places of worship.
Dr Kanani said that ‘we must continue to challenge misinformation and advocate the vaccine as being entirely appropriate to have during Ramadan’.
She added: ‘It is vital that people of all faiths feel able to come forward and get the vaccine.’