Muslim parents are refusing to allow their children to take part in a nationwide flu vaccine drive after the Muslim Council of Britain ruled the treatment was forbidden by Islam, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
Muslim parents across the country have been told that the Fluenz spray is not permitted because it contains gelatine derived from pigs, which are considered unclean. In some areas the “vast majority” of Muslim parents have vowed to withdraw their children from the programme, community leaders revealed.
The Royal Society for Public Health said the situation “added to the risk of major flu outbreaks” and urged the government to offer a halal alternative vaccine acceptable to Muslims. An injectable alternative without gelatine does exist, but is only offered to children at higher risk.
Public Health England documents reveal concern that uptake in Muslim areas has already been “significantly lower” than the average. ”
NHS England has urged Muslim parents to consider making an exception because the vaccine can be “considered different from ingesting food”. But the Muslim Council of Britain is quoted in the report as saying that it was advising imams to tell parents that Fluenz is “not acceptable in Islam”.
The report says Jewish leaders have already ruled the vaccine permissible because the pork gelatine is not eaten.
Last year the Vegetarian Society called the Fluenz spray “upsetting” but stopped short of advising parents to withdraw their consent.
The Daily Telegraph report