The Covid-19 vaccination impact is not limited to the taker only but also affects everyone around us
BY CAMILIA REZALI
It is indeed amazing how fast the Covid- 19 vaccines were developed.
Normally, the development of a vaccine would take years. But surprisingly, the range of Covid-19 vaccines we have now were made available in just after seven months. Therefore many, Muslims especially, have questioned if the vaccines were safe?
Also, one of the biggest concerns raised by Muslims regarding the vaccines is, does the vaccination contradict the teachings of Islam?
The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) brought together a few expert philosophers and a scientist to discuss the matter and provide a clearer understanding of the vaccines. The discussion entitled “Covid-19 Vaccination: Issues and Responses” was held online recently.
No contradiction with Islam
One panelist said the vaccine does not contradict the teachings of Islam although some Muslims have debated on a fact that if God (Allah) is the healer, then why should we consider getting vaccinated? Well, this would be a fallacious thought.
During the discussions, the Scientist and an Author in Islamic Philosophy of Science, Dr Ahmad Mabrouk quoted Fatwas made by the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America.
The first Fatwa said, “There is no blame on physicians or researchers when they base a judgement on a greater likelihood”.
And similarly, another Fatwa stated, “When we do accept the judgement made by physicians, it is based on a greater likelihood.”
So, what do these Fatwas mean? Ahmad Mabrouk said: “It means; we must believe no vaccines are 100 per cent effective. If a vaccine proves to have a 90 per cent level of efficacy, we must expect a remaining of 10 per cent side effect.
“The Fatwa also mentioned it is obligatory to take the vaccine because its (Covid-19 vaccination) impact is not limited to the taker only. It also affects everyone around us.”
These facts are drawn out in the Fatwas released by the Muslim Jurists of America. Hence, vaccination does not contradict the teachings of Islam.
Usefulness of the vaccine
The core principle of managing any outbreak is similar. In epidemiology, an outbreak control relies on the interaction between three principles: Agent (the transmission rates), the Host (susceptibility and co-morbidity), and the Environment (rules and regulations).
Since the outbreak started, establishing public health became a challenge because most Covid-19 cases were presented as asymptomatic, said the Professor of the Department of Community Medicine, Kulliyah of Medicine, IIUM Kuantan Campus, Prof Jamaluddin Ab Rahman.
“Asymptomatic cases are a category that really brings a huge challenge to public health because we do not know our enemy,” he said.
Sharing on the role of vaccination, Jamaluddin said vaccines are generally used to trigger human antibodies and improve immunity. Studies have shown that people who took vaccines would only have an infection rate of 0.1 per cent.
On the flip side, he said if a community decided to not get vaccinated, the infection rate would be between one and 1.5 per cent.
Covid-19 vaccines are thoroughly developed
Jamaluddin noted: “the Covid-19 vaccines we have are all developed through a valid scientific research. Every single data about the clinical trials is available in great detail on the website.
“And to say that there could be a manipulation of findings would be difficult because the data is very transparent.”
He said looking into the history of the development of Covid-19 vaccines, we are not starting from scratch; we already have references available from previous studies of SARS-CoV-1 in 2002, MERS-CoV in 2012 and references from the SARS-CoV-2.
“Basic research on the transport and the lipid profile of mRNA vaccine was done 10to 15 years back, where the main aim of the research on lipid Nano particles is for the development of cancer vaccines.”
An ongoing effort
As we are aware, we have not yet reached a full-scale of acceptance towards the Covid-19 vaccines.
Last year, the Ministry of Health (MoH) Malaysia did a survey on the acceptance of Covid-19 vaccination taking in 212,006 respondents. The findings of the survey were shared by the Assistant Professor of Emergency and trauma Department, Kulliyah of Medicine, IIUM Kuantan Campus, Asst Prof Dr Mohd Syafwan Adnan during the online discussion.
Syafwan said 67 per cent of the respondents agreed to take the vaccine while 16 per cent did not agree. The remaining 17 per cent said they were unsure of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines available.
“I think we should not blame the ones who are sceptical towards vaccination. We can still educate them because we are in a confusing period as the vaccines are still new.
“For now, our aim would be to achieve a point of herd immunity by getting 78-80 per cent of Malaysian population vaccinated.
When China first managed to crack the genome code and later share the results of the virus genome, it quickly allowed vaccine makers globally to start working on the vaccine development. This is considered an important event in the history of Covid-19,” said Syafwan. — The Health