Muslim community leaders are urging Southwark residents to get vaccinated during Ramadan.
Doctors are particularly keen to stress that it is fine to receive the jab while fasting, and that COVID-19 vaccinations are halal.
Dulwich GP Mahreen Chawdhery, based at 3-zero-6 Medical Centre, said, “We are working very hard to deliver the vaccine – I personally have delivered vaccines to all of my house-bound patients and see more daily.
“I have had both vaccines, and so have my staff. We want people to know that the vaccines are safe and effective.
“The vaccines do not contain any animal products, so they are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and they are halal.
“The risk of catching Covid-19 without the vaccine is very serious and the vaccine significantly reduces this risk.
“Muslim scholars agree that it is acceptable to have the vaccine during Ramadan because of its benefits and the fact that it is taken out of medical need.”
Mohammed Aslam Ijaz, Chair of the Trustees for South London Islamic Centre is also keen to stress that COVID-19 vaccines are halal.
“The message is quite clear that this is a halal product, and we must not miss an opportunity to keep ourselves safe from this terrible, terrible virus.
“The injection does not impact your digestive system and is suitable to have during Ramadan.”
Dr Chawdhery added: “The more people that are vaccinated, the more protection we’ll see throughout the whole community.
“Even if you are young and healthy, people in your surroundings may not be, and you could spread the virus without realising.
“Vaccines help you protect yourself and your loved ones. We all need to participate in this combined effort.”
So far vaccination clinics have so far taken place at the South London Islamic Centre, Peckham Islamic Centre, Al-Emaan Mosque in Bromley and the Lewisham Islamic Centre.
Ali Abdullah, who is a member at Peckham Islamic Centre Mosque, said: “I took the vaccine at Peckham Islamic Centre Mosque.
“The NHS staff came to the mosque and explained to me that the vaccine is halal and does not contain meat products.
“I personally think the vaccine is good thing to take as prevention is very important. I am very happy I have had the vaccine.”
Who is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you are aged 45 and over, an eligible frontline health worker, you receive a Carers Allowance, have a learning disability, are clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) or clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) – you can book your vaccine online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 without needing an invitation.
If you are eligible to use this service but cannot get an appointment, speak to your GP surgery. Information about pop-up clinics will be added to the South East London Clinical Commissioning Group website here: https://selondonccg.nhs.uk/what-we-do/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/pop-up-clinics/.
If you are not eligible for the vaccine yet, wait to be contacted. The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.