@ Halal | March-April . 2021
BY CAMILIA REZALI
The Covid-19 pandemic has put the world ’ s social norm , economic pattern and even the political system into a paradigm shift , leading to a need for system enhancements and adapting to the so called new normal .
As we can see , social change is one of the most affected aspect in our lives . We are barred from having big social gatherings , we are no longer allowed to shake hands , we are required to stay two metres apart from each other and meetings have gone virtual .
Going back to life as usual may take some time and the only way to curb the outbreak of Covid-19 would be through vaccination . Today , we have a whole variant of Covid-19 vaccines , introduced by many countries around the world .
So , what is the dilemma with the vaccines available ?
It is amazing to see how fast the development of Covid-19 vaccines was . Normally , the development of a vaccine would take years . But surprisingly , the range of Covid- 19 vaccine we have now were made available in just after seven months . Therefore , many , Muslims especially have questioned if the vaccines were safe ?
One of the biggest concerns raised by Muslims regarding the vaccines is , does the vaccination contradict with 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 on the vaccines . The discussion entitled “ Covid-19 Vaccination : Issues and Responses ” was held online on Feb 9 , 2021 .
No contradiction and no concern
According to one panellist , vaccination 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
No contradiction with Islam
Philosophers and scientists make it clear the Covid-19 vaccines do not contradict the teachings of Islam
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 .
Understanding 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
Official poster of online discussion organised by IIUM . 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 from the Department of Community Medicine , 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 1 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 are 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 also references from the SARS-CoV-2 .
“ Basic research on the transport and the lipid profile of mRNA vaccine was done 10 to 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 well 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 .
Now , the information on long-term side effects of Covid-19 vaccines is very limited because the vaccines are still new . From a review done by the US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) on previous vaccine developments , they noted that most of the vaccine side effects will only occur after the first two months of being vaccinated .
Therefore , the role of vaccine manufacturers now is to give a 2-month observation before releasing the result and long-term side effects will be reviewed after two years . However , the short-term effects are well documented .