Essex Muslims are being reassured they can continue to have the vaccine while fasting during Ramadan.
Ramadan began on Monday, April 12 and will continue until May 11 – followed by celebratory days of Eid al-Fitr on May 12.
During the Holy month, Muslims in good health will fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food, drink and impure thoughts.
Several NHS figures and Islamic scholars have spoken out to stress that Ramadan should not stop anyone from getting their Covid-19 vaccination.
Ayman Syed, General Secretary for the Chelmsford Muslim Society, is also reassuring any Muslims across Essex that it is safe and okay to have their vaccinations while fasting.
“You can take it without affecting your fast”
“We are encouraging it for those who are available to get the vaccine and get their requests through,” Ayman said. “Even prior to Ramadan we were encouraging this.
“The reason why people have been hesitant is because normally people don’t give blood during the month of Ramadan because it can make you much weaker.
“Some people are also worried it might make you break your fast, which is why some people are hesitant.”
Ayman added: “That’s why it’s more about education and saying you can take it without affecting your fast.
“You can ask any Imams in Essex and they will all tell you the vaccine is perfectly fine.”
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Despite data showing that people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds are more at risk of dying from Covid-19, vaccination rates have shown to be lower.
This is something Imams across the country have been encouraging and continue to push people to have the vaccine – not just for themselves, but for the community as a whole.
“We know the BME population have been affected more than others by it, especially with the second wave, it hit people even more so for the protection of the public and we need to have it,” Ayman said.
“If anyone is concerned and worried, they should contact us and send us an email and we are happy to talk to them and any concerns or worries.”
Check where you can get vaccinated where you are:
Some reports earlier this month suggested that there would be night-time jabs made available for Muslims during Ramadan, however Ayman said the community in Essex is happy to have vaccinations during the day.
“We have been talking to the NHS and they have bee really flexible in terms of looking to provide night-time vaccines that might have been quite good for us,” Ayman explained.
“So we have done a survey with the Muslim community across Essex and their feedback was that most people were happy to do it during the day time.
“Because we are not eating, we have more time than usual in that sense too – which is better too because it means we are even more focused on praying in the evening.
“It’s really nice that everyone is being so flexible of our needs and thoughtful for that but we are happy.”
You can get in touch with the Chelmsford Muslim society here.