January 10, 2021 | Jumada Al-Awwal 26, 1442 AH
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Abundant Peace, Blessings and Salutations upon the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
This is the second vaccine to be approved by Health Canada. Two doses of the vaccine are required approximately 4 weeks apart, for upto 95% effective protection to be achieved approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the second dose. It is therefore critical that everyone receives both doses of the vaccine. Similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, it contains no animal ingredients or fetal-derived cells and is therefore declared Halal or permissible by Canadian religious leaders. The anticipated side effects are mild and short-lived. This may include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes under the injected arm, nausea, vomiting, and fever. These may be slightly worse after the second dose.
The Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both Halal and either is recommended for eligible Canadian Muslims. Please discuss specific questions or concerns related to your medical history with your healthcare provider.
Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines
It is not mandatory to get the COVID-19 vaccine as per federal and provincial authorities. However, Canadian Muslims should consider it a duty and obligation to protect themselves, their families and their community. The vaccines are already being recommended by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, and will likely become a requirement in the near future. There may be additional employment, educational, social or travel implications as well for those that choose not to get vaccinated.
New Variants of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19 Vaccines
New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been identified throughout the pandemic and have been of little consequence. More recently, variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa have raised concerns of being 50-70% more contagious than the dominant strain within our communities. Depending on the variant and mutations involved, the available COVID-19 vaccines will likely still provide adequate protection. For this reason, the recommendations remain for all eligible Canadians to still receive the approved COVID-19 vaccines. These developments are being closely monitored, with more information expected in the weeks ahead.
Beware of Scam COVID-19 Vaccine Sellers and Distributors
There have been reports of scams and people paying privately or travelling to get their COVID-19 vaccine elsewhere. Local and provincial public health units and health ministries are keeping track of vaccines administered in Canada. Attempts to bypass waitlists may result in future difficulties without an official record of vaccination. The vaccines are being distributed and administered on a priority basis, so please wait patiently for your turn. There will be enough doses for every eligible Canadian.
Transparency & Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
To expand upon and clarify our previous statement, the CMCTF’s recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccines are based on the consensus of Canadian Muslim health experts and religious leaders, as led by our steering organizations - the Muslim Medical Association of Canada (MMAC) and the Canadian Council of Imams (CCI). In addition, we also review the considerations and decisions by international Muslim organizations and bodies. The MMAC and the CMCTF have never accepted any money or incentives from pharmaceutical companies for any initiatives. Our position statements are based on the best available evidence at the time of writing, with the wellbeing of all Canadians including Muslims, as paramount.
Information is quickly changing in this pandemic, and as we learn more, recommendations and guidelines may change or be updated. Please stay informed using knowledgeable and trustworthy sources. Detailed official information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines is available from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).