People are confused about whether they can be vaccinated against coronavirus when they are fasting. Religious scholars are saying the vaccine has nothing to do with breaking the fast.
However, due to religious sentiments, many people may not want to be vaccinated while fasting, so experts advised authorities concerned to arrange for them to be vaccinated at night.
Professor Muzaherul Haque, a former adviser to the World Health Organisation, told The Business Standard that, "Injections have nothing to do with breaking the fast. Many people take insulin when they are fasting. But, some people have reservations regarding the matter. If some people do not want to be vaccinated while fasting, a system has to set up to vaccinate them at night."
He said, "All hospitals starting from Upazila level to a broader level remain open 24 hours. Therefore, it is possible to carry out coronavirus vaccination activities after iftar if desired. People need to be encouraged to get vaccinated. They cannot be discouraged from getting vaccinated in any way."
The country has vaccinated 36,82,152 people since the campaign began on 7 February this year. The inoculation is being carried out at 1,005 centres across the country. Except for the weekends, 2,400 teams are inoculating the citizens from 8am to 2pm every day.
Professor Muzaherul Haque said, "An evening vaccination programme should be arranged for one month. If necessary, daytime vaccination activities should be started a little later instead of 8am. After giving a break, the vaccination activities should be resumed again in the evening. It is possible."
Meanwhile, after concerns were raised ahead of the holy month, British Islamic medical groups said taking a Covid-19 vaccine will not break a Muslim's fast during Ramadan, reports Al Arabiya news.
"Taking the Covid-19 vaccines currently licensed in the UK does not invalidate the fast, as per the opinion of Islamic scholars. Individuals should not delay their Covid vaccinations on the account of Ramadan," the British Islamic Medical Association said in a statement.
According to the medical association, "Subcutaneous, subdermal, intramuscular, interosseous, or intra-articular injections for non-nutritional purposes whilst fasting does not invalidate the fast, regardless of the injected content entering the blood circulation. These routes are not classed as entry sites that would invalidate the fast."
"Receiving the Covid-19 vaccine as an intramuscular injection, the only route for the vaccines currently available, therefore does not invalidate the fast," the medical association added in its statement.
Faruk Ahmmed, secretary of Bangladesh Islamic Foundation, told TBS, "There are no religious restrictions regarding taking vaccine while fasting. Health ministry officials have a meeting with the leaders of the Islamic Foundation at the Ministry of Religious Affairs on the issue next week."
"At the meeting, a decision will be made on what steps will be taken to make people interested in getting vaccinated during the month of Ramadan. According to the decision, the Islamic Foundation will make people aware of this in mosques across the country," Faruk added.
Noted virologist Professor Nazrul Islam, a member of the NTAC on Covid-19, told TBS that, "We should explain to the general public what religious scholars say about vaccination."
Professor Nazrul too opined that those who do not agree to be vaccinated during the day during Ramadan should be vaccinated at night. All government hospitals are open at night so vaccination will not be a problem at night.
He also said the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 would advise the government to make arrangements for vaccinating people at night.
The Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) is now working with the religious scholars to encourage people to get vaccinated during Ramadan.
Professor Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS, told TBS that, "If there is no problem in taking insulin while fasting, then there is no problem in taking the coronavirus vaccine. We have already spoken to the Islamic Foundation. They will make people aware through religious scholars including Imams, Moazzins. There is a meeting in this regard next week."
Professor Khurshid further said, "The Saudi government has already said that those want who want perform Hajj must be vaccinated. We have to make people understand this. Various plans are being made to continue the vaccination activities during Ramadan. We have also informed the Cabinet about the vaccination activities during the month of Ramadan. The Cabinet will instruct the DC-SPs in this regard."