8th January 2021
Question: With the rollout of the vaccines, is it permissible for Muslims to take it in spite of the certain speculations being circulated about it like altering the DNA, containing foetal cells and so on? Appreciate the clarity on the matter.
الجواب حامداً و مصلياً
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The recent government’s rollout of the vaccine has created hope for some whilst for others, it has grown scepticism. Much of the confusion surrounding the vaccine is due to miss-information that is being widely circulated amongst people. There are three types of vaccines that have been rolled out, Pfizer, Moderna and the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine. Two doses are given as currently twelve weeks apart in the form of a jab in the upper arm. They work by stimulating the immune system to produce its own defence against the virus. The most vulnerable and those of high risk are given the vaccine such as people above the age of 80, living in care homes and health care workers. The vaccines are known to carry some side effects but very mild for instance, fatigue, headache, sore arms due to the jab and aches and pains.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are not known to contain any animal ingredients such as gelatine or animal fat. It is purely vegetarian and therefore Halāl and permissible to take. It is believed that this is also the similar case with the Oxford vaccine. It is however confirmed that it contains small traces of ethanol (0.002 g of per dose of 0.5 ml), but does not cause any noticeable effect. We have discussed elsewhere that ethanol is not deemed impure as mostly it is derived from other than grapes and dates and is synthetically manufactured. Some have argued that the vaccines contain foetal – cell lining from the aborted foetus. If this is the case then it does not render the vaccine Harām because the cell linings are so minute that they disappear leaving no traces behind like the case with alcohol converting into vinegar, thus permissible.
We are not aware of any information that the vaccine alters the DNA. Even if it was the case then this is not to a significant degree in the way that it has been overly exaggerated. The vaccine has been manufactured to boost the body’s immune system in preparing it to repel the virus. It is true that the vaccine may cause side effects as highlighted above, however it is very remote. It depends on the individual’s health condition as some may have an allergic reaction towards a specific ingredient in the vaccine. This is the similar case with any other medication. If it is proven to be effective and its benefit outweighs its harms then a small harm can be endured to prevent a greater harm. Hence, it still does not render it Harām.
A final note on this issue, there’s nothing wrong in someone feeling hesitant in taking the COVID vaccine. This is the individual’s right upon whom the vaccine cannot be forced. Where the problem lies is individuals advocating an anti-vaccine campaign to create fear mongering amongst people based on unsubstantiated evidences. The balance therefore is that if it contains no Harām ingredients then it is permissible to take. If someone chooses to refrain then that is their prerogative but to actively discourage Muslims from taking it by creating fear is not the best of solutions.
[Allãh Knows Best]
Written and researched by (Mufti) Abdul Waheed
Answer Attested by Shaykh Mufti Saiful Islam
JKN Fatawa Department
 Covid-19: What are the ingredients in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine? – Cambridgeshire Live (cambridge-news.co.uk), Information for UK recipients on COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) [both accessed 6th January 2020]
 Mufti Abdul Waheed, (2020), Islamic Ruling on Alcohol Contained Products, available at Islamic-Rulling-on-Alcohol-Contained-Products.pdf (jknfatawa.co.uk)
 Fatawa Hindiyyah, Kitāb al-Tahārah, vol 1, p. 45
[الْفَصْلُ الْأَوَّلُ فِي تَطْهِيرِ الْأَنْجَاسِ]
(الْبَابُ السَّابِعُ فِي النَّجَاسَةِ وَأَحْكَامِهَا وَفِيهِ ثَلَاثَةُ فُصُولٍ)
(وَمِنْهَا) الِاسْتِحَالَةُ تَخَلَّلَ الْخَمْرُ فِي خَابِيَةٍ جَدِيدَةٍ طَهُرَتْ بِالِاتِّفَاقِ. كَذَا فِي الْقُنْيَةِ. الْخُبْزُ الَّذِي عُجِنَ بِالْخَمْرِ لَا يَطْهُرُ بِالْغَسْلِ وَلَوْ صُبَّ فِيهِ الْخَلُّ وَذَهَبَ أَثَرُهَا يَطْهُرُ. كَذَا فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ.
الرَّغِيفُ إذَا أُلْقِيَ فِي الْخَمْرِ ثُمَّ صَارَ الْخَمْرُ خَلًّا فَالصَّحِيحُ أَنَّهُ طَاهِرٌ إذَا لَمْ يَبْقَ رَائِحَةُ الْخَمْرِ وَكَذَا فِي الْبَصَلِ إذَا أُلْقِيَ فِي الْخَمْرِ ثُمَّ تَخَلَّلَ؛ لِأَنَّ مَا فِيهِ مِنْ أَجْزَاءِ الْخَمْرِ صَارَ خَلًّا. هَكَذَا فِي فَتَاوَى قَاضِي خَانْ.
Muheet Burhani vol 1. p. 191
وقد ذكرنا أن من مذهب محمد رحمه الله أن النجس يصير طاهراً بالتغيير، يفتى فيه بقول محمد رحمه الله لمكان عموم البلوى
 Ibn Nujaym, Al-Ashabh wan Nazair, p. 74
يُتَحَمَّلُ الضَّرَرُ الْخَاصُّ؛ لِأَجْلِ دَفْعِ ضَرَرِ الْعَامِّ.