An organization of Indian Sufi Muslims that promotes Islamic beliefs through publications and research, Raza Academy, on Wednesday wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO) expressing apprehensions about the contents of the COVID-19 vaccines. Besides, the Mumbai-based organisation has also sought the detailed composition of vaccines which are being rolled out across the world.
“As the world seems to be gripped by the disasters of Covid-19, the race for its cure is also at its level best with the topmost pharmaceutical companies rushing to launch their vaccines against this disease. However, there have been several reports in the media that some companies, especially from countries like China, are using ingredients extracted from pigs and cows in the vaccines for making it more durable until it is finally used," Raza Academy wrote.
"We from Raza Academy would request your goodself to kindly send us a detailed list of the vaccines being developed in the world containing the ingredients in it so that an individual can take a decision as to which vaccines he wants to administer to himself," it added.
This comes days after the United Arab Emirates' highest Islamic authority, the UAE Fatwa Council, ruled that coronavirus vaccines with pork gelatin are permissible for Muslims. The ruling followed growing alarm that the use of pork gelatin may hamper vaccination among Muslims who consider the consumption of pork products "haram", or forbidden under Islamic law.
If there are no alternatives, Council Chairman Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah said that the coronavirus vaccines would not be subject to Islam's restrictions on pork because of the higher need to "protect the human body".
The council added that in this case, the pork gelatin is considered medicine, not food, with multiple vaccines already shown to be effective against a highly contagious virus that "poses a risk to the entire society".
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer have clarified that their vaccines do not contain any kind of animal content.