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COVID-19 Vaccines Encouraged For Muslims During Ramadan

People with appointments stand in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site at Lincoln Park
People line up to get a COVID-19 vaccine in L.A.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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During the month-long observance of Ramadan, which continues through May 12, many Muslims abstain from food and drink in daylight hours. Muslim health leaders are urging fellow believers not to let fasting stop them from getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We do not believe that the vaccine -- or any injectable, for that matter, that’s not nutritionally based -- breaks your fast,” said Dr. Hasan Shanawani, president of the American Muslim Health Professionals. “And we really want you to get your vaccine.”

The majority of Islamic scholars agree that because the vaccine goes into the muscle rather than the bloodstream, and is not nutritious, it does not amount to breaking the fast. If you feel otherwise, Shanawani said some exceptions are allowed. The most important thing is to get vaccinated.

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“Remember, one of the allowances for breaking your fast is for medical reasons,” Shanawani said. “And I cannot think of a medical reason, right now, that is more compelling than the COVID pandemic. Our hospitals are filling up again with the new variants … and the vaccine protects you.”

Any of the three vaccines offered in the U.S. made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are considered halal, and are permissible for Muslims to use.

Shanawani adds that in hot climates such as Southern California, it’s okay to break your fast to drink water while you wait outdoors or in a hot car for a coronavirus vaccine.

“Do what you feel is safe, and know that God’s a merciful guy and he’s okay with you making it up. You’re allowed to make up [fasting] days, we do that all the time,” Shanawani said.

“Don’t wait until the end of Ramadan to get [vaccinated], because it’s a really big safety issue right now.”

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On April 15, any Californian 16-and-above can sign up for a COVID-19 appointment, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. The city of L.A. and other municipalities have already opened appointments to the youngest qualified recipients.