Muslim parents are reportedly refusing to allow their children to have a nasal flu vaccine because the treatment is not halal for containing pork gelatin.
“We have consulted the scholars and this is their view… we need another vaccine which is halal,” Dr. Shuja Shafi, the chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain’s research and documentation committee, told the Telegraph.
For the first time, every healthy child between the ages of two and 10 in England will be offered the Fluenz nasal spray vaccine.
Concerns were first raised over the spray – Fluenz Tetra – containing pork gelatin last year, but the issue has been highlighted again ahead of a new nationwide drive.
An injectable alternative without gelatin does exist, but it is only offered to kids who are at a higher risk of contracting the flu.
Community leaders revealed in some areas that the “vast majority” of Muslim parents have vowed to pull their kid from the program.
The Royal College of Public Health said the situation “added to the risk of major flu outbreaks”.
At the time, the Vegetarian Society branded the use of the ingredient in three vaccines as ‘disappointing’, while the Muslim Council of Britain said the spray would only be permitted if there was no alternative and lives were at risk.
Last year Dr. Shafi urged doctors to find a ‘long-term solution’ to the issue. Two other vaccines, MMR VaxPro, and Zostavax, also contain gelatine.
The concept of halal — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.
It is the duty of every Muslim to seek what is halal and keep away from haram not only as regards food but also in all the other affairs of his life.
Halal also applies to any other consumed and edible materials which mustn’t be harmful to human health. For example, Islam considers wines, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, E-cigs, hookah and other unhealthy things to be non-halal.