Ramadan – coronavirus resources for pharmacy teams
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Community pharmacy contractors may receive a higher number of queries about the use of the coronavirus vaccine or coronavirus tests from patients who are Muslim during the month of Ramadan, which starts this week.*
During Ramadan, Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, and consuming medicines is also not allowed. Below are some questions and answers to some of the queries pharmacy teams may be asked during Ramadan.
Q. Are the coronavirus vaccines halal?
None of the current COVID-19 vaccines contain any pork-derived constituents or animal products; the vaccines are completely halal.
Q. Can I have my coronavirus vaccine while I am fasting during Ramadan?
The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed in the UK do not invalidate the fast during Ramadan – this is the opinion of Islamic scholars.
Patients can therefore be reassured that there is no need to cancel or postpone a scheduled vaccination or delay responding to an invitation for their vaccination.
Q. What if I have my vaccine during Ramadan and then I feel unwell?
BIMA has confirmed that if a patient feels unwell post-vaccination, then the general principles pertaining to illness and fasting during Ramadan apply.
BIMA has produced a flowchart detailing these points.
Q. Can I use coronavirus test kits during Ramadan?
BIMA has reviewed opinions from different schools of thought and advises that using a lateral flow device (LFD) test or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test does not invalidate the fast during Ramadan, as per the opinion of most Islamic scholars.
Resources and signposting
Public Health England has published three posters highlighting that COVID-19 vaccines are acceptable for Muslims and that they can have the vaccine during Ramadan, which pharmacy teams could consider displaying in their pharmacy for the next month.
Resources to signpost patients to for reassurance and further reading can also be found on the following websites:
- British Islamic Medical Association – Ramadan safety guidance
- Muslim Doctors Association – COVID hub
- The Muslim Council of Britain – Ramadan 2021
Patients could also be advised to consult with their local imam for further guidance.
*The exact start date of Ramadan is dependent on verified moon sightings, so it can begin on different days depending on which announcement a particular mosque observes.