Priority remains at combatting this pandemic together
THE DAY Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin proclaimed the Covid-19 vaccines would be available in the first quarter of 2021, a comforting relief was felt as we were reaching closer to eradicating the lethal pandemic.
At first, people questioned whether the world will come out with a vaccine. Soon after the vaccine race started, Muslims started wondering whether the vaccines would be halal.
But as we all know, vaccination has long been a complex socio-religious controversy. The demand for the halal vaccine seems unnecessary for non-Muslims as the focus is safety and efficacy. And as for halal vaccine projects, Malaysia has been on this since 2014. Therefore, a quest for a halal vaccine is nothing new for Malaysia.
On Dec 7, 2020, 5 Pillars reported scholars from some of the most influential Islamic seminaries in the UK have said that the new Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is halal because the UK government has confirmed that it does not contain any components of animal origin.
Initially, the rising concern to the ingredient of the vaccine was cholesterol, the report stated – an element which could be sourced from animal fat. However, it is usually sourced from the chicken eggs.
So, if the vaccine is confirmed halal in the UK, does it apply to Malaysia too? @Halalspoke with the Head of Halal Consultancy of Halal Development Corporation (HDC), Dhaliff Anuar.
“It is good to know the vaccine for Covid-19, Pfizer and BioNtech, as you stated is being considered halal by parties in UK. However, it is not an indication to justify the assurance whether the vaccine is halal or not,” said Dhaliff.
“The vaccine might be halal to consumers depending on their knowledge of halal ingredients and technical aspects of vaccine production. There is no assurance from competent halal authorities to clarify the vaccine is halal.”
He suggested the concern should be on society not to further complicate the efforts to beat this pandemic.
Dhaliff said: “The vaccine matter is above halal. It goes back to the permissibility in Islam – to cure the diseases.”
“The repercussion of Covid-19 has impacted the livelihood of people across the globe. But, marking the Covid-19 vaccine as ‘halal’ should not be a primary concern as the priority remains at combatting this pandemic together.”
Despite the concern, HDC is always ready to support any effort and initiative on halal vaccines.
At the moment, HDC is coming up with a national halal pharmaceutical roadmap to chart the growth of this particular sector. The organisation has also started to deploy halal training modules for professionals in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Having a single pilot case of halal-certified vaccine is not sufficient. There are several other components such as national policies, infrastructure, resources and incentives required to support the industry sector.
“Hence, we look forward to having a sustainable halal pharmaceutical sector,” he concluded.