The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) is an umbrella body aiming to unite Muslim healthcare professionals. Our role as BIMA is to ensure differences of opinions from jurists are respected; to inform scholars & the Muslim community on the importance of herd immunity, and vaccine efficacy, as well as the risks of illnesses like influenza and benefits of vaccination.
Influenza can kill and cause serious illnesses and BIMA advice is for all those who are elderly and at risk adults to have their injectable flu vaccination on an annual basis to protect against these illnesses. The injectable flu vaccine is permissible according to all Islamic jurists as this does not contain pork derived products. The intranasal flu vaccine for children, known as Fluenz, contains pork derived products.
There is ongoing concern in the Muslim community about the use of pork derived products in the intranasal Fluenz vaccine. This has been compounded by the market availability of a pork free alternative – an injectable flu vaccine – which commissioners have not made routinely available for children. BIMA advises all those who are concerned to consult local scholars & healthcare professionals that they trust in order to make an informed decision for their own children.
BIMA has been in conversation with Public Health England (PHE) to provide alternative options to parents of Muslim children in England who consider Fluenz impermissible. We are hoping to continue with these discussions with PHE so that those wishing to avoid porcine vaccines are not disadvantaged.
We would also like to clarify our position based on a leaflet circulated in 2015 which seems to suggest BIMA viewed the intranasal vaccine for children, Fluenz, as impermissible. This is not the case, as this is the remit of jurists – who in this case had summarised their views of its impermissibility with our input.
BIMA will continue to work with public health bodies in order to improve the low vaccination uptake in Muslim communities through education and lobbying for greater inclusion.