There are concerns about halal status of Covid-19 vaccine
The authorities in Indonesia have finished a study on a possible Covid-19 vaccine’s halal status, The Jakarta Post reported.
Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said on Dec 7, 2020 that the Indonesian Ulema (MUI) had finished its study on the Sinovac vaccine based on the halal requirement and would issue a fatwa soon, antaranews.com reported.
The study was done by the Indonesian Ulema Council Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics and the Halal Certification Agency.
Muhadjir, a leading figure in the country’s second-largest Islamic organisation Muhammadiyah, called the global Covid-19 pandemic a life-threatening health crisis.
Therefore, drugs or vaccines without halal certifications can be used to avoid deaths when halal vaccines or medicines have yet to be found.
Muhadjir explained that according to Islamic regulation, Covid-19 vaccines fall into the emergency category, meaning that all non-halal vaccines can be used in a crisis as it aimed to manage an emergency situation.
The halal status of potential Covid-19 vaccines had been a significant concern for many.
Vice-President and senior Muslim cleric Ma’ruf Amin offered a similar statement in October, saying that the vaccine being prepared by the government did not have to be halal.
Vice-presidential spokesman Masduki Baidowi said Ma’ruf’s statement came during a meeting with Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan.
The meeting discussed the vaccine’s progress being developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac in partnership with state-owned pharmaceutical firm PT Bio Farma.
“The Vice-President explained an important thing: If the vaccine is halal, then that’s good, there’s no problem. But if it is not halal, that’s also not a problem,” Masduki said in a statement on Oct 2.
“Because this is an emergency situation, it’s okay to use (a non-halal vaccine).”
In October, Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, who also helms the national economic recovery and Covid-19 response team, ensured that the Covid-19 vaccine would have halal certification.
Airlangga explained that the government had consulted the MUI to ensure the vaccine would receive a halal certification.
In response to the issue, the government has cooperated with various Islamic organisations to support the upcoming nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme amid uncertainty over the vaccine’s halal status.