Islamically Permissible Influenza Vaccines Available in the US for 2021-2022 Season

Prepared by Mawlana Dr. Mateen A. Khan, MD and Dr. Ramzan Judge, PharmD

Summary

Permissible influenza vaccines in the US for 2021-2022 season

  • FluadTM Quadrivalent
  • Fluzone High-DoseTM Quadrivalent
  • AfluriaTM
  • FluarixTM
  • FluLavalTM
  • FluzoneTM Quadrivalent

Impermissible influenza vaccines in the US for 2021-2022 season

  • FlublokTM
  • FluMistTM
  • FlucelvaxTM

Discussion

Background on Influenza

Influenza (commonly known as the flu) is a seasonal viral illness carrying significant health, economic, and social burden. For the past nine years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year 9.3-49 million symptomatic illnesses, 4.3-23 million medical visits, 140,000-960,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000-79,000 deaths are attributed to seasonal influenza. For the 2019-2020 season part, the CDC estimated influenza vaccination prevented:

  • 7.5 million illnesses
  • 3.7 million medical visits
  • 105,000 hospitalizations (10% of expected overall and 41% among young children)
  • 6,300 deaths[i] 

In addition to providing immunity to healthy individuals, the vaccine benefits the sick by decreasing the amount of exposure from other individuals (herd immunity). Hence, the CDC, along with most American medical organizations, recommends that every person above six months old receive a seasonal influenza vaccine yearly.[ii]

Improving vaccination rates among Muslims has been a struggle. Muslim majority countries find their populations hesitant. [iii] Similar issues are faced among Muslim minority populations in the West over a concern for the presence of impermissible ingredients in the vaccine.[iv]

The United States currently offers nine different commercially prepared vaccines. We reviewed package inserts and public records for the vaccines to evaluate methods of production and the presence of impermissible products. When necessary, we corresponded with the manufacturers. The results are compiled in Table 1. The vaccines vary in their methods of production and ingredients, which may pose religious challenges for Muslims.

Challenge #1 – Methods of Production

Influenza vaccines are prepared through three different processes. Most strains are prepared through an egg-based manufacturing process. This involves injecting vaccine viruses into fertilized chicken eggs. Essentially, the egg is commandeered as a factory by the viruses as they use the egg’s resources to replicate themselves. The viruses are extracted and purified.[v] Islamically, this process per se is not an issue as eggs are considered permissible.

Flucelvax™, a product by Seqirus, is made by incubating influenza viruses in a particular animal cell line, Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK).[vi] The MDCK cell line was initially isolated in 1958 from an adult Cocker Spaniel dog.[vii] Dogs, like all predators, are ḥarām as Sayyidunā Ibn `Abbās (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ prohibited every predator possessing canine teeth.[viii] Further, when cells like MDCK are removed from an animal, they are considered maytah (carrion) in Islamic terminology. The Prophet ﷺ informed us, “Whatever is cut from an animal while it is alive is carrion.”[ix] Surah al-An`ām states a ruling of najis and arām for carrion.

Say, “ I do not find, in what has been revealed to me, anything prohibited for anyone who eats it, unless it be carrion or blood that pours forth, or flesh of swine – because it is impure.”[x]

Hence, the initially harvested canine cells were najis and ḥarām. Since 1958, the cell line has undergone countless replication cycles in artificial environments, and the parent cells have long died off. Still, being the progeny cells, they will be impure and impermissible.

The MDCK cells used in Flucelvax™ are grown in a medium in which no human or animal-derived materials are used.[xi] After an incubation period, the cells are processed through lysis, and the virus proteins undergo extraction and purification. Despite this, residual amounts of the cells capable of inducing allergic reaction in susceptible patients remain, per the package insert. For these reasons, Flucelvax™ vaccine made from this method is impermissible particularly when other permissible alternatives exist

FlublokTM manufactured by Sanofi, is produced by genetically engineering proteins expressed by influenza into an alternate virus, baculovirus (Autographa californica). It is then used to infect an insect cell line (ExpresSF+) derived from the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which produces the desired influenza proteins. This vaccine is especially valuable to those who have severe allergies to eggs. [xii] Insects, like the armyworm, fall into the category of al-khabā’ith explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an as arām in Surah al-A`rāf.

[He ﷺ] makes unlawful for them impure things (al-khabā’ith).[xiii]

Similar to animal cell lines discussed previously, the progeny ExpresSF+ cells are impure and impermissible. Hence, FlublokTM vaccine made from this method is also impermissible particularly when other permissible alternatives exist

Issue #2 – Porcine Gelatin as a Stabilizer

Two of the vaccines available in the United States, FluMistTM and Flucelvax™, contain porcine gelatin. The gelatin is added as a stabilizer for the viral vaccine protein. Gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen, which is extracted from collagen-containing tissue like skin and bones. At the outset, the Qur’an declares that all porcine parts are najis and ḥarām.

Say, “I do not find, in what has been revealed to me, anything (out of the cattle under discussion) prohibited for anyone who eats it, unless it be carrion or blood that pours forth, or flesh of swine – because it is impure – or there be an animal slaughtered sinfully by invoking on it the name of someone other than Allah. (Surah al-An`ām:145)[xiv]

He has but prohibited for you the carrion, the blood, the flesh of swine and what has been invoked upon with a name other than that of Allah. (Surah al-Naḥl:115)[xv]

In earlier times, gelatin was prepared in homes through a process of cooking, causing the collagen to hydrolyze and break into peptides of varying lengths. Although the process today is commercialized and done through a series of chemical reactions, extraction, and purification, the result is not much different from home preparations. These peptides do not constitute a significant change from the original porcine collagen. Instead, gelatin is just fragmented hydrolyzed collagen. The resulting gelatin is impermissible.[xvi] Hence, FluMistTM and Flucelvax™ are impermissible particularly when other permissible alternatives exist.

Exceptional Cases

If someone is unable to take or obtain one of the permissible influenza vaccines, and they are relatively healthy, they should not take an impermissible vaccine.[xvii] However, if a strong need exists, then they may take those vaccines that are normally impermissible. An example of a strong medical need is when there is a high likelihood (ghalabah al-ann) of significant morbidity or mortality in contracting influenza such as in the very old or patients with pre-existing significant comorbidities. Ideally, the Sharī`ah prefers a competent Muslim physician to determine this need based upon the evidences at hand. The physician should be pious and have a basic understanding of the relevant Sharī`ah rulings.[xviii] Vaccinations mandated by the government, work places, or schools may also constitute a strong need.[xix] In any of these situations, one may take (in order of preference) FlublokTM, FluMistTM, and FlucelvaxTM.

Conclusion

Of the nine commercially available influenza vaccines available in the US for the 2021-2022 season, six are Islamically permissible: FluadTM Quadrivalent, Fluzone High-DoseTM, AfluriaTM, FluarixTM, FluLavalTM, and FluzoneTM Quadrivalent. The Muslim public is advised to avoid FlublokTM, FluMistTM, and FlucelvaxTM.

In exceptional cases, as outlined above, one may take FlublokTM, FluMistTM, and FlucelvaxTM in that order of preference.

Of note, vaccine formulations are subject to change year to year. The research presented here is accurate for the 2021-2022 season to the best of our knowledge.

Table 1: 2021-2022 Influenza Vaccines


[i] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm

Part of the 2019-2020 influenza season and all of the 2020-2021 season overlapped with the COVID-19 epidemic. Influenza cases were significantly suppressed and the numbers likely represent an historical aberrancy.

[ii] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/whoshouldvax.htm.

[iii] Ahmed, A. (2018) Outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases in Muslim majority countries. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 11 (2), 153-155. doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2017.09.007

[iv] https://mcb.org.uk/mcb-updates/position-on-flu-vaccines/.

[v] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/how-fluvaccine-made.htm#targetText=The%20most%20common%20way%20that,for%20more%20than%2070%20years.&targetText=For%20flu%20shots%2C%20the%20influenza,and%20virus%20antigen%20is%20purified.

[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6177469/

[vii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madin-Darby_Canine_Kidney_cells#targetText=Madin%2DDarby%20Canine%20Kidney%20(MDCK,as%20responses%20to%20growth%20factors.

[viii] عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْ كُلِّ ذِي نَابٍ مِنَ السِّبَاعِ (مسلم 1934)

[ix] مَا قُطِعَ مِنَ الْبَهِيمَةِ وَهِيَ حَيَّةٌ فَهِيَ مَيْتَةٌ (أبو داوود 2858، الترمذي 1480، ابن ماجه 3216)

وَعَلَى هَذَا يَخْرُجُ مَا إذَا قَطَعَ مِنْ أَلْيَةِ الشَّاةِ قِطْعَةً أَوْ مِنْ فَخِذِهَا أَنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ الْمُبَانُ وَإِنْ ذُبِحَتْ الشَّاةُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ؛ لِأَنَّ حُكْمَ الذَّكَاةِ لَمْ يَثْبُتْ فِي الْجُزْءِ الْمُبَانِ وَقْتَ الْإِبَانَةِ لِانْعِدَامِ ذَكَاةِ الشَّاةِ لِكَوْنِهَا حَيَّةً وَقْتَ الْإِبَانَةِ، وَحَالَ فَوَاتِ الْحَيَاةِ كَانَ الْجُزْءُ مُنْفَصِلًا وَحُكْمُ الذَّكَاةِ لَا يَظْهَرُ فِي الْجُزْءِ الْمُنْفَصِلِ وَرُوِيَ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ كَانُوا يَقْطَعُونَ قِطْعَةً مِنْ أَلْيَةِ الشَّاةِ وَمِنْ سَنَامِ الْبَعِيرِ فَيَأْكُلُونَهَا فَلَمَّا بُعِثَ النَّبِيُّ الْمُكَرَّمُ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ – نَهَاهُمْ عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ – «مَا أُبِينَ مِنْ الْحَيِّ فَهُوَ مَيِّتٌ» وَالْجُزْءُ الْمَقْطُوعُ مُبَانٌ مِنْ حَيٍّ وَبَائِنٌ مِنْهُ فَيَكُونُ مَيِّتًا وَكَذَلِكَ إذَا قُطِعَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ صَيْدٍ لَمْ يُؤْكَلْ الْمَقْطُوعُ، وَإِنْ مَاتَ الصَّيْدُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ لِمَا قُلْنَا. (بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع)

[x] قُل لَّا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّـهِ بِهِ

[xi] European Medicines Agency Assessment Report on Flucelvax Tetra. 18 Oct. 2018. Pg. 14.

[xii] Barr, I. G. (2018). Cell culture-derived influenza vaccines in the severe 2017-2018 epidemic season: a step towards improved influenza vaccine effectiveness. NPJ vaccines, 3, 44. doi:10.1038/s41541-018-0079-z

See also https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/egg-allergies.htm for discussion on egg allergies and influenza vaccines.

[xiii] وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ

(وَأَمَّا) الَّذِي يَعِيشُ فِي الْبَرِّ فَأَنْوَاعٌ ثَلَاثَةٌ: مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ أَصْلًا، وَمَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ، وَمَا لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ مِثْلُ الْجَرَادِ وَالزُّنْبُورِ وَالذُّبَابِ وَالْعَنْكَبُوتِ وَالْعَضَّابَةِ وَالْخُنْفُسَاءِ وَالْبُغَاثَةِ وَالْعَقْرَبِ.

وَنَحْوِهَا لَا يَحِلُّ أَكْلُهُ إلَّا الْجَرَادَ خَاصَّةً؛ لِأَنَّهَا مِنْ الْخَبَائِثِ لِاسْتِبْعَادِ الطِّبَاعِ السَّلِيمَةِ إيَّاهَا وَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى {وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ} [الأعراف: 157] إلَّا أَنَّ الْجَرَادَ خُصَّ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْجُمْلَةِ بِقَوْلِهِ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ – «أُحِلَّتْ لَنَا مَيْتَتَانِ» فَبَقِيَ عَلَى ظَاهِرِ الْعُمُومِ. وَكَذَلِكَ مَا لَيْسَ لَهُ دَمٌ سَائِلٌ مِثْلُ الْحَيَّةِ وَالْوَزَغِ وَسَامِّ أَبْرَصَ وَجَمِيعِ الْحَشَرَاتِ وَهَوَامِّ الْأَرْضِ مِنْ الْفَأْرِ وَالْقُرَادِ وَالْقَنَافِذِ وَالضَّبِّ وَالْيَرْبُوعِ وَابْنِ عِرْسٍ وَنَحْوِهَا، وَلَا خِلَافَ فِي حُرْمَةِ هَذِهِ الْأَشْيَاءِ إلَّا فِي الضَّبِّ (بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع)

[xiv] قُل لَّا أَجِدُ فِي مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ مُحَرَّمًا عَلَىٰ طَاعِمٍ يَطْعَمُهُ إِلَّا أَن يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَّسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ أَوْ فِسْقًا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّـهِ بِهِ

[xv] إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّـهِ بِهِ

[xvi] Respectfully, the minority opinion considering gelatin to have undergone a significant transformation (tabdīl al-mahiyah) rendering its ruling changed seems doubtful for the reasons outlined. This is an extensive discussion. However, with the availability of clearly ḥalāl alternatives, the opinion given in this article is more cautious.

[xvii] The authors are currently unaware of any clinical scenario in which an Islamically permissible vaccine is contraindicated. The CDC recommends egg cultured vaccines even in patients with prior anaphylactic reactions to eggs. (See: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/egg-allergies.htm) This statement is included as a hypothetical clinical scenario.

[xviii] وَجَوَّزَهُ فِي النِّهَايَةِ بِمُحَرَّمٍ إذَا أَخْبَرَهُ طَبِيبٌ مُسْلِمٌ أَنَّ فِيهِ شِفَاءً وَلَمْ يَجِدْ مُبَاحًا يَقُومُ مَقَامَهُ. قُلْت: وَفِي الْبَزَّازِيَّةِ وَمَعْنَى قَوْلِهِ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ – «إنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَجْعَلْ شِفَاءَكُمْ فِيمَا حُرِّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ» نَفْيُ الْحُرْمَةِ عِنْدَ الْعِلْمِ بِالشِّفَاءِ دَلَّ عَلَيْهِ جَوَازُ شُرْبِهِ لِإِزَالَةِ الْعَطَشِ (رد المحتار على الدر المختار)

[xix] Imdād al-Fatāwa Jadīd ma`a Hāshiyah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-Qāsimī, 9:262


Islamically Permissible COVID-19 Vaccines: Viral Vector Page

Prepared by Mawlana Mateen A. Khan MD, Dr. Ramzan Judge PharmD, Dr. Samad Tirmizi PharmD, and Mufti Adil Farooki MD.

Summary:

Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines are ḥalāl and permissible for use although other vaccines without ethical issues (e.g., mRNA vaccines) are preferable when available.

Summary page for all assessed COVID-19 vaccines

Oxford-AstraZeneca Discussion:

The University of Oxford partnered with AstraZeneca to develop a viral vector vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCov-19 or AZD1222. It consists of a chimpanzee adenovirus vector (ChAdOx1) which has been rendered incapable of replication. The adenovirus contains DNA which encodes for the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.[i] This modified adenovirus is produced within HEK293 cells. The HEK293 cell line are the offspring cells originating from normal human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells made to replicate indefinitely in 1973. Since then, they have been grown in artificial media throughout laboratories across the world. They were obtained initially from a single, healthy fetus. The status of this fetus, whether obtained via spontaneous miscarriage or elective abortion, remains unclear.[ii] Once the adenovirus is produced in sufficient quantity within the HEK293 cells, the cells are lysed. The adenovirus containing spike protein DNA is purified from the resultant solution and cell products. These adenoviruses make up the active component of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Other excipients, including ethanol, compose the rest of the vaccine.

This process raises several issues of concern for Muslims[1]:

  • Use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) in HEK293 cell culture media
  • Permissibility and Purity of Human cells
  • Ongoing use of HEK293 cells in research and production
  • Use of synthetic ethanol as an excipient

Each one of these issues will be addressed in order before giving a final ruling on the Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine.

Use of Fetal Bovine Serum

Oxford-AstraZeneca’s production makes use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) in the HEK293 cell culture media.[iii] Cells, which are propagated outside of a body, require nutrients and other factors. FBS provides these nutrients and factors and is therefore a common component of animal cell culture media. When a cow is sent for industrial processing, it is eviscerated at the time of slaughtering. The reproductive organs and tract are sent to a calf processing area. If the uterus is found to contain a fetus, the fetus is cleaned, its heart punctured through the rib cage, and blood subsequently drained. Serum is later separated from the drained blood.[iv]

Allah, the Exalted, says, “Do not eat from that upon which Allah’s name has not been mentioned,” and “Indeed, He has forbidden dead animals and blood.”[v] In all likelihood, these cows are slaughtered in a way rendering them impermissible (ḥarām) to consume and impure (najis). They are both those upon which Allah’s name has not been mentioned at the time of slaughtering and without a proper slaughtering, that which is considered dead. Likewise, the bovine fetus and its blood are impermissible and impure as stated in the verse above. [vi] This ruling extends to the serum extracted from it.

Despite the ethical and juristic problems posed by this process, the FBS is completely separated from the final vaccine product in a series of purification steps rendering the final product free of any serum components.[vii]

Cells from an aborted human fetus

Permissibility

A set of human embryonic kidney cells, the parent HEK293 cells, were initially obtained from a human fetus in 1973. Allah, the Exalted, states, “Indeed, we have honored the children of Ādam.” (Surah al-Isrā’: 70) These few words, indicating the special status of humans above all other creations, have far reaching implications. Among them, the fuqahā’ have derived the general impermissibility of using human parts.[viii]

They have included in this impermissibility minor parts, like fingernails, and extended it to even situations of extreme need, like cannibalism in the face of death by starvation. Thus, the general principle of the verse and rulings extends to all human cells, including the aforementioned human embryonic kidney cells. Hypothetically, if it was permissible in cases of extreme need (ḍarūrah), at the time of harvesting the parent HEK293 cells, no particular need was present. It is also uncertain if the fetus was aborted in a matter that was spontaneous, permissible, or impermissible in the Sharī`ah, which further clouds any potential permissibility of its use.

Purity

Allah, the Exalted, states, “(O Prophet ﷺ) say, ‘I do not find, in what was revealed to me, (anything) forbidden from what is eaten except a dead animal, flowing blood, or the flesh of swine. Indeed, it is impure (rijs).’” (Surah al-An`ām: 145) The word rijs comes in the meaning of najis, that which is impure. Similarly, Allah, the Exalted, states, “[Allah] has only forbidden to you the dead animal, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 173) From these two verses and numerous narrations, the fuqahā’ have derived the rulings of najis and ḥarām of any removed parts of a deceased human that contained flowing blood at one point.[ix] Likewise, these rulings also extend to human embryonic kidney cells.

Ongoing use of HEK293 cells in research and production

As stated, the parent cells of the HEK293 cell line were extracted almost fifty years ago. Since then, they have undergone countless replication cycles. Do the same rulings apply to the cell line as applied to the parent embryonic kidney cells? If they do not, what about the offspring cells makes them sufficiently different than their parent cells to necessitate a different ruling? Also, at one point in time in the replication process did the ruling change? In answer to these questions, we note several points which indicate the cell line incurs the same rulings as the initial cells:

  • Although there have been slight modifications to the HEK293 DNA, for the most part, the cells continue to appear and behave as the parent cells. In fact, this is the primary reason for their continued use in laboratories – they appear and act as normal human cells – allowing scientists to experiment on human cells without having to experiment on human beings.
  • In some respects, calling them offspring is a misnomer. Offspring generally differ from their parents in some way. However, cell lines do not significantly differ. They are merely an increase in the parent cells, more akin to growth of tissue than progeny.[x]
  • Most human cells within the body are constantly being replaced. The person today is no longer the same person cellularly that he was twenty years ago. Even though he is today the offspring cells of yesterday, the rulings of the Sharī`ah and worldly governance apply the same. For example, his marriage of twenty years ago or his debts.
  • For arguments sake, if we consider the cell line to be a different category than the initial cells, at one point did this change occur? Was it with the first replication or the billionth? Without a clear demarcation, it is unclear how or when one would apply a different ruling.

According to the jurstic principles, al-aṣl baqā’un mā kāna `ala mā kān and al-mutawallad min al-aṣl yakūnu bi ṣifah al-aṣl, consideration will be given to the original, known state until a sufficient cause to change is established.[xi] Hence, the HEK293 stem line retains the rulings of impermissibility of use, impurity, and impermissibility of consumption from the “parent” human embryonic cells.

Ruling of AZD1222

Normally, adenoviruses follow a lytic cycle in the human body in which:

  • A virus particle(s) injects genetic material into a cell.
  • The cell’s resources and machinery are hijacked for the purpose of replicating the viral genetic material and packaging.
  • Once sufficient levels of virus are replicated, the cell is broken open, and the viruses escape to begin this cycle anew.
Figure: Viral Lytic Cycle

As outlined above, the adenovirus vector AZD1222 is produced within the HEK293 cell line. Although in an industrial setting, this process is not fundamentally different than what takes place naturally. During production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine:

  • Viral DNA is injected into a cell of the cell line
  • The cell’s resources and machinery are hijacked for the purpose of replicating the viral genetic material and packaging.
  • Once sufficient levels of virus are replicated, the infected HEK293 are lysed chemically causing release of the replicated adenoviruses.
  • The adenoviruses are separated and purified from HEK293 remnants and growth medium.

In the understanding and terminology of laypeople and microbiologists, viruses are distinctly different from cells. Although assembled within the cell, the adenovirus is a separate entity, consisting mostly of genetic material and proteins. It is not thought of as a cell’s progeny nor is it thought to have life like the cell. Rather, it is a parasitic entity released from within the cell after having used it for replication. Herein lies the difference between the stem cell line and the adenovirus. Although both are born (mutawallad) of a cell, the stem cell line is a continuation of the original cells, while the adenovirus is a distinctly different entity. Hence, the stem cells retain the same juristic rulings as the initial HEK cells, whereas the adenoviruses do not. Additionally, the adenovirus is comparable to the example of a parasite born within the human body as mentioned in juristic texts.[xii] Like these parasites, the adenoviruses do not carry the same impure status or prohibition of its host, but rather, by default, they are pure (ṭāhir) and permissible to use.

Next, although the virus is born of a comparable process, it is, in its essence, unlike a parasite. Most parasites (e.g., intestinal worms) are from the khabā’ith, and the Qur’an has made them specifically impermissible to consume (ḥarām).[xiii] However, as microscopic collections of proteins and genetic material, viruses are not from this category, and by default, they are permissible to consume (ḥalāl). Thus, these adenoviruses, although derived from an impermissible and impure cell line, are permissible to use and pure.

Use of Ethanol as an Excipient

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine contains the following excipients:

  • L-histidine
  • L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
  • magnesium chloride hexahydrate
  • polysorbate 80
  • ethanol
  • sucrose
  • sodium chloride
  • disodium edetate dihydrate

None of the vaccine’s excipients are animal derived. The list of excipients includes ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Ethanol has the potential for being impermissible (arām) if it is derived from khamr (fermented from dates or grapes) or has the potential to intoxicate. As evidenced by Allah’s, the Exalted, words, “O Believers, indeed khamr, gambling, altars and divining arrows are filth (rijs), made by Shayṭān. Therefore, refrain from it, so that you may be successful.” (Al-Mā’idah 90). Ethanol used in the vaccine is synthetically made and not derived from khamr. Additionally, it is found in exceedingly small amounts (0.002 g per dose of 0.5 ml vaccine)[xiv] such that intoxication is impossible. Therefore, the ethanol found in the vaccine is not of concern for Muslims.[xv]

Summary

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine poses several ethical dilemmas throughout its manufacturing process including the impermissible use of human stem cell lines. These issues highlight the need for Muslims in the sector to exert influence in choosing processes in line with Islamic guidelines of permissibility and purity. Undoubtedly, following such guidelines will result in increased therapeutic benefit for everyone.

In conclusion, the resulting vaccine is permissible for use although other vaccines without ethical issues (e.g., mRNA vaccines) are preferable when available.

Acknowledgements: We would like to acknowledge the valuable feedback provided by Muftis Faisal al-Mahmudi (Canada), Omar Baig (Canada), Muhammad Faeq (Pakistan), Yusuf Shabbir (UK), and Amjad Mohammed (UK). May Allah ta`āla increase them in knowledge and accept them.


Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine Discussion

Janssen in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson has developed a viral vector vaccine. The process utilized is similar in many respects including derivation from human fetal retinal cells, use of their progeny cells in the form of a stem line (PER.C6), and delivery via an adenovirus. Thus, this vaccine shares many of the issues of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Ingredients found in the vaccine are: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride. These are non-animal derived.

For a discussion of these issues, please read the above detailed write-up on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. In conclusion, the resulting vaccine is permissible for use although other vaccines without ethical issues (e.g., mRNA vaccines) are preferable when available.


[1] Two other potential issues are not addressed here as they were felt to be peripheral and not directly related to the vaccine production. First, in preparing the HEK293 cells used in the production of this vaccine, another modified cell line T-Rex-293 was developed through the use of porcine trypsin. The trypsin was not in direct contact with the actual cell bank used in this manufacturing process. Second, the adenovirus vector (ChAdOx1) is a chimpanzee virus. For reasons that will become apparent in the article, the virus does not carry the same ruling as the chimpanzee cells from which it is derived.


[i] Chung, YH et al. COVID-19 Vaccine Frontrunners and Their Nanotechnology Design.

Folegatti, PM et al. Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial.

Morris, SJ et al. Laboratory-Scale Production of Replication-Deficient Adenovirus Vectored Vaccines.

Email correspondence with AstraZeneca (ref: F-632787, INQ 05503763), 15-Jan-2021

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEK_293_cells

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2020/05/63752/

[iii] Morris, SJ et al. Laboratory-Scale Production of Replication-Deficient Adenovirus Vectored Vaccines.

[iv] Jochems, CEA et al. The Use of Fetal Bovine Serum: Ethical or Scientific Problem? ATLA 30, 219-227, 2002.

[v] وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ (الأنعام 121)

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللَّـهِ (البقرة 173)

[vi] كنز الدقائق للنسفي، دار البشائر الإسلامية، ص 600

ولم يتذك جنين بذكاة أمه

مختصر القدوري في الفقه الحنفي، دار الكتب العلمية، ص 206

ومن نحر ناقة أو ذبح بقرة أو شاة فوجد في بطنها جنينا ميتا لم يؤكل أشعر أو لم يشعر

[vii] Morris, SJ et al. Laboratory-Scale Production of Replication-Deficient Adenovirus Vectored Vaccines.

“The MHRA can confirm that the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca does not contain any components of animal origin.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca (Accessed Jan. 22, 2021)

[viii] شرح السير الكبير، شمس الأئمة السرخسي، الشركة الشرقية للإعلانات، ص 128

والآدمي محترم بعد موته على ما كان عليه في حياته. فكما يحرم التداوي بشيء من الآدمي الحي إكراما له فكذلك لا يجوز التداوي بعظم الميت. قال – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: «كسر عظم الميت ككسر عظم الحي»

الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي، المرغيناني، ج 1، ص 23

” وشعر الإنسان وعظمه طاهر” وقال الشافعي نجس لأنه لا ينتفع به ولا يجوز بيعه ولنا أن عدم الإنتفاع والبيع لكرامته فلا يدل على نجاسته والله أعلم

البناية شرح الهداية، بدر الدين العينى، دار الكتب العلمية، ج 1، ص 105

أي لأجل كرامته؛ لأن الآدمي مكرم بالنص والضمير في به يرجع إلى الشعر، وفي كرامته يجوز أن يرجع إلى الشعر أيضا، ولكونه مكرما بكرامة صاحبه، ويجوز أن يرجع إلى الإنسان وهو الظاهر.

البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق، ابن نجيم المصري، دار الكتاب الإسلامي، ج 1، ص 113

فإن المصرح به في البدائع والكافي وغيرهما بأن سن الآدمي طاهرة على ظاهر المذهب، وهو الصحيح وعلل له في البدائع بأنه لا دم فيها والمنجس هو الدم؛ ولأنه يستحيل أن تكون طاهرة من الكلب نجسة من الآدمي المكرم إلا أنه لا يجوز بيعها ويحرم الانتفاع بها احتراما للآدمي كما إذا طحن سن الآدمي مع الحنطة أو عظمه لا يباح تناول الخبز المتخذ من دقيقهما لا لكونه نجسا بل تعظيما له كي لا يصير متناولا من أجزاء الآدمي كذا هذا وكذا ذكر في المبسوط والنهاية والمعراج

فتاوى قاضيخان، فخر الدين حسن بن منصور الأوزجندي، ج 3، ص 247

مضطر لم يجد ميتة و خاف الهلاك فقال له رجل اقطع يدي و كلها أو قال اقطع مني قطعة فكلها لا يسعه أن يفعل ذلك ولا يصح أمره به كما لا يسع للمضطر أن يقطع قطعة من لحم نفسه فيأكل

الفتاوى الهندية، دار الفكر، ج 5، ص 354

وقال محمد – رحمه الله تعالى – ولا بأس بالتداوي بالعظم إذا كان عظم شاة أو بقرة أو بعير أو فرس أو غيره من الدواب إلا عظم الخنزير والآدمي فإنه يكره التداوي بهما فقد جوز التداوي بعظم ما سوى الخنزير والآدمي من الحيوانات مطلقا من غير فصل…

الانتفاع بأجزاء الآدمي لم يجز قيل للنجاسة وقيل للكرامة هو الصحيح كذا في جواهر الأخلاطي.

رد المحتار على الدر المختار، ابن عابدين، دار الفكر، ج 1، ص 204

في الدر: (وآدمي) فلا يدبغ لكرامته، ولو دبغ طهر وإن حرم استعماله، حتى لو طحن عظمه في دقيق لم يؤكل في الأصح احتراما.

في الرد: وأجيب بأن معنى طهر جاز استعماله والعلاقة السببية والمسببية لا اللزوم كما قيل، إذ لا يلزم من الطهارة جواز الانتفاع كما علمته، لكن علة عدم الانتفاع بهما مختلفة، ففي الخنزير لعدم الطهارة، وفي الآدمي لكرامته كما أشار إليه الشارح. قال في النهر: وهذا مع ما فيه من العدول عن المعنى الحقيقي أولى…
(قوله وإن حرم استعماله) أي استعمال جلده أو استعمال الآدمي بمعنى أجزائه وبه يظهر التفريع بعده (قوله احتراما) أي لا نجاسة (قوله وأفاد كلامه) حيث لم يستثن من مطلق الإهاب سوى الخنزير والآدمي

كتاب النوازل، مفتي سيد محمد منصوربوري، المركز العلمي، ج 16، ص 209

چند اهم عصری مسائل، زين الاسلام قاسمي، مكتبة دار العلوم ديوبند، ج 2، ص 335-336

[ix] رد المحتار على الدر المختار، ابن عابدين، دار الفكر، ج 1، ص 207

في الدر: (وشعر الإنسان) غير المنتوف (وعظمه) وسنه مطلقا على المذهب. واختلف في أذنه، ففي البدائع نجسة، وفي الخانية لا، وفي الأشباه: المنفصل من الحي كميتته إلا في حق صاحبه فطاهر وإن كثر. ويفسد الماء بوقوع قدر الظفر من جلده لا بالظفر

في الرد: أقول: وعليه فما يبقى بين أسنان المشط ينجس الماء القليل إذا بل فيه وقت التسريح، لكن يؤخذ من المسألة الآتية كما قال ط أن ما خرج من الجلد مع الشعر إن لم يبلغ مقدار الظفر لا يفسد الماء تأمل (قوله مطلقا) أي سواء كان سنه أو سن غيره من حي أو ميت قدر الدرهم أو أكثر حمله معه أو أثبته مكانه كما يعلم من الحلية والبحر (قوله على المذهب) قال في البحر: المصرح به في البدائع والكافي وغيرهما أن سن الآدمي طاهرة على ظاهر المذهب وهو الصحيح؛ لأنه لا دم فيها، والمنجس هو الدم بدائع وما في الذخيرة وغيرها من أنها نجسة ضعيف. اهـ (قوله ففي البدائع نجسة) فإنه قال: ما أبين من الحي إن كان جزءا فيه دم كاليد والأذن والأنف ونحوها فهو نجس بالإجماع، وإلا كالشعر والظفر فطاهر عندنا. اهـ ملخصا (قوله وفي الخانية لا) حيث قال: صلى وأذنه في كمه أو أعادها إلى مكانها تجوز صلاته في ظاهر الرواية. اهـ ملخصا. وعلله في التجنيس بأن ما ليس بلحم لا يحله الموت فلا يتنجس بالموت أي والقطع في حكم الموت. واستشكله في البحر بما مر عن البدائع. وقال في الحلية: لا شك أنها مما تحلها الحياة ولا تعرى عن اللحم، فلذا أخذ الفقيه أبو الليث بالنجاسة وأقره جماعة من المتأخرين. اهـ. وفي شرح المقدسي قلت: والجواب عن الإشكال أن إعادة الأذن وثباتها إنما يكون غالبا بعود الحياة إليها فلا يصدق أنها مما أبين من الحي؛ لأنها بعود الحياة إليها صارت كأنها لم تبن، ولو فرضنا شخصا مات ثم أعيدت حياته معجزة أو كرامة لعاد طاهرا. اهـ.

الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي، المرغيناني، دار احياء التراث العربي، ج 1، ص 25

قال: “وإن ماتت فيها شاة أو كلب أو آدمي نزح جميع ما فيها من الماء” لأن ابن عباس وابن الزبير رضي الله عنهما أفتيا بنزح الماء كله حين مات زنجي في بئر زمزم

البحر الرائق شرح كنز الدقائق، ابن نجيم المصري، ج 1، ص 113

وقيل هو عظم وما وقع في الذخيرة وغيرها من أن أسنان الكلب إذا كانت يابسة طاهرة وأسنان الآدمي نجسة بناء على أن الكلب يطهر بالذكاة وما يطهر بها فعظمه طاهر بخلاف الآدمي فضعيف، فإن المصرح به في البدائع والكافي وغيرهما بأن سن الآدمي طاهرة على ظاهر المذهب، وهو الصحيح وعلل له في البدائع بأنه لا دم فيها والمنجس هو الدم؛ ولأنه يستحيل أن تكون طاهرة من الكلب نجسة من الآدمي المكرم…

لكن ما ذكره في السن مسلم أما الأذن فقد قال في البدائع ما أبين من الحي من الأجزاء إن كان المبان جزءا فيه دم كاليد والأذن والأنف ونحوها، فهو نجس بالإجماع، وإن لم يكن فيه دم كالشعر والصوف والظفر، فهو طاهر عندنا خلافا للشافعي اهـ….

وفي الخلاصة وفتاوى قاضي خان والتجنيس والمحيط جلد الإنسان إذا وقع في الماء أو قشره إن كان قليلا مثل ما يتناثر من شقوق الرجل ونحوه لا يفسد الماء، وإن كان كثيرا يعني قدر الظفر يفسد والظفر لا يفسد الماء اهـ. وعلل له في التجنيس بأن الجلد والقشر من جملة لحم الآدمي والظفر عصب، وهذا كله مذهبنا

[x]  مصنوعى گوشت کے حوالے سے چند استفادات، دار الإفتاء جامعة الرشيدية، #63210\57.

[xi] القواعد الفقهية وتطبيقاتها في المذاهب الأربعة، محمد مصطفى الزحيلي، ج 1، ص 129-134


المجموعة للقواعد الفقهية، مفتي عميم الإحسان، البشرى، ص 43.

الأشباه والنظائر لابن نجيم، دار الكتب العلمية، ص 49

مُوْسُوعَة القَواعِدُ الفِقْهِيَّة، ج 9، ص 486

المتولّد من الأصل يكون بصفة الأصل

فما تولّد من أصل فهو فرع له، والفرع يأخذ صفة أصله وحكمه من الحل أو الحرمة أو الجواز وعدمه أو الملك وعدمه.

[xii] الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي للمرغيناني، دار احياء التراث العربي، ج 1، ص 18

والدابة تخرج من الدبر ناقضة فإن خرجت من رأس الجرح أو سقط اللحم لا تنقض والمراد بالدابة الدودة وهذا لأن النجس ما عليها وذلك قليل وهو حدث في السبيلين دون غيرهما

فتح القدير، بابن الهمام، دار الفكر، ج 1، ص 53

(قوله لأن النجس ما عليها) المعنى؛ لأن ما بحيث يكون نجسا هو ما عليها

البناية شرح الهداية، بدر الدين العينى، دار الكتب العلمية، ج 1، ص 306

لأن النقض بالخروج لا بنفس الدابة فافهم.

العناية شرح الهداية، جمال الدين الرومي البابرتي، دار الفكر، ج 1، ص 52

لأن نفس الدودة ليست بنجسة، ولهذا لو غسلت جازت الصلاة معها فلم يبق من النجس إلا ما عليها

درر الحكام شرح غرر الأحكام، ملا خسرو، دار إحياء الكتب العربية، ج 1، ص 13

(و) خروج (ريح أو دودة أو حصاة من الدبر) ذكر الريح لأنه خارج منه وليس بنجس مع أنه ناقض لمجاورة النجس وذكر الآخرين لأن ما معهما من النجس وإن قل حدث في السبيلين

مجمع الأنهر في شرح ملتقى الأبحر، عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن سليمان المدعو بشيخي زاده، دار إحياء التراث العربي، ج 1، ص 21

(ولا خروج دودة من جرح) وكذا من أذن أو أنف؛ لأنها متولدة من لحم طاهر وما عليها قليل، والقليل غير ناقض في غير السبيلين.

رد المحتار على الدر المختار، ابن عابدين، دار الفكر، ج 1، ص 184

في الدر: وفي الوهبانية دود القز وماؤه وبزره وخرؤه طاهر كدودة متولدة من نجاسة

في الرد: (قوله: كدودة إلخ) فإنها طاهرة ولو خرجت من الدبر، والنقض إنما هو لما عليها لا لذاتها ط وقدمنا قولا بنجاستها، وعلى الأول فإذا وقعت في الماء لا ينجس لكن لو بعد غسلها كما قيد في البزازية فما في القنية من أنه ينجس محمول على ما قبل الغسل.

عمدة الرعاية بتحشية شرح الوقاية، الإمام محمد عبد الحي اللكنوي، مركز العلماء العالمي للدراسات وتقنية المعلومات، ج 1، ص 345

قوله: لأنها طاهرة؛ أشار بذلك إلى وجهين للفرق بين دودة الجرح وبين دودة الدبر، الأول: إن الدودة حيوان طاهر في الأصل وإن كان أصله من النجس، والطاهر إذا خرج من أحد السبيلين نقض الوضوء كالريح، بخلاف غيرهما، فإن الخارج الطاهر منه لا ينقض، كالدمع والعرق، والثاني: إن الدودة لا تخلو عن قليل نجاسة، وقليل النجاسة إذا خرجت من أحد السبيلين نقض الوضوء، ومن غيرهما لا ينقض إلا إذا كان كثيرا.

الهدية العلائية، محمد علاء الدين بن محمد أمين عابدين، دار ابن حزم، ص 40

يصح رفع الحدث بما ذُكر من أقسام الماء المطلق، وان مات فيه، ولو قليلا… دودة ولو موتولِّدة من نجاسة أو خارجة من دبر بعد غسلها.

الكتاب : الفتاوى البزازية، ج 1، ص 9

الدودة المتولدة من النجاسة طاهرة حتى إذا وقعت في الماء بعد غسلها لا ينجس وكذا دودة كل حيوان ويجوز الصلاة معها

[xiii] وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ (الأعراف 157)

 بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع، علاء الدين الكاساني، دار الكتب العلمية، ج 5، ص 36

(وأما) الذي يعيش في البر فأنواع ثلاثة: ما ليس له دم أصلا، وما ليس له دم سائل، وما له دم سائل مثل الجراد والزنبور والذباب والعنكبوت والعضابة والخنفساء والبغاثة والعقرب. ونحوها لا يحل أكله إلا الجراد خاصة؛ لأنها من الخبائث لاستبعاد الطباع السليمة إياها وقد قال الله تبارك وتعالى {ويحرم عليهم الخبائث} [الأعراف: 157] إلا أن الجراد خص من هذه الجملة بقوله – عليه الصلاة والسلام – «أحلت لنا ميتتان» فبقي على ظاهر العموم. وكذلك ما ليس له دم سائل مثل الحية والوزغ وسام أبرص وجميع الحشرات وهوام الأرض من الفأر والقراد والقنافذ والضب واليربوع وابن عرس ونحوها، ولا خلاف في حرمة هذه الأشياء إلا في الضب

[xiv] “This medicine contains a very small amount of alcohol (0.002 g of alcohol (ethanol) per dose of 0.5 ml). This is not enough to cause any noticeable effects.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca/information-for-uk-recipients-on-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca (Accessed Jan 22, 2021)

[xv] تكملة فتح الملهم، مفتي تقي عثماني، دار إحياء التراث العربي، ج 3، ص 506

وبهذا يتبين حكم الكحول المسكرة (AL COHALS) التي عمت بها البلوى اليوم، فإنها تستعمل في كثير من الأدوية والعطور والمركبات الأخرى، فإنها إن اتخذت من العنب أو التمر فلا سبيل إلى حلتها أو طهارتها، وإن اتخذت من غيرهما فالأمر فيها سهل على مذهب أبي حنيفة رحمة لله تعالى، ولا يحرم استعمالها للتداوي أو لأغراض مباحة أخرى ما لم تبلغ حد الإسكار، لأنها إنما تستعمل مركبة مع المواد الأخرى، ولا يحكم بنجاستها أخذا بقول أبي حنيفة رحمة لله.

أحسن الفتاوى، مفتي رشيد اللديانوي، ج 8، ص 488-490

Islamically Permissible COVID-19 Vaccines: mRNA Page

Prepared by Mawlana Mateen A. Khan MD, Dr. Ramzan Judge PharmD, Dr. Samad Tirmizi PharmD, and Mufti Adil Farooki MD.

Summary:

Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are ḥalāl and permissible to take.

Summary page for all assessed COVID-19 vaccines

Discussion:

The first class of vaccine to come to market in the United States are mRNA vaccines developed by BioNTech/ Pfizer and Moderna. mRNA vaccines are novel vaccines encapsulating genetic material in lipid nanoparticles. It is thought these particles fuse with the cell membrane of a eukaryote to deliver the mRNA into its cytoplasm. Here, it is translated into the active antigen. Unlike previous vaccines, production of mRNA vaccines do not employ any cell lines or growth medium.[i]

Figure 1: Drawing of a lipid nanoparticle

Pfizer-BioNtech & Moderna COVID Vaccines

The vaccines developed by Pfizer/ BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines named BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 respectively. [ii] The mRNA encodes for the receptor binding domain of the virus’s S1 protein. It is entirely synthetic. There are nine other ingredients (Table 1[iii]). Ingredients 2-5 of each vaccine make up the lipid nanoparticle. Although, these components can be sourced from plant or animal sources, we have assurances from the manufacturers and government agencies that the vaccines do not contain any components of animal origin. [iv] The rest of its components are excipients[v] of ḥalāl origin. Therefore, all ingredients of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines are ḥalāl, being either non-animal derived synthetic components or excipients.


[i] Annette B. Vogel, Isis Kanevsky et al. A prefusion SARS-CoV-2 spike RNA vaccine is highly immunogenic and prevents lung infection in non-human primates. BioRxiv, September 08, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.09.08.280818

Corbett, K.S., Edwards, D.K., Leist, S.R. et al. SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine design enabled by prototype pathogen preparedness. Nature 586, 567–571 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2622-0

[ii] For a better general understanding of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, see: https://biontech.de/covid-19

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html. Accessed December 24, 2020.

[iv] “The Medicines and Healthcare products Agency can confirm that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any components of animal origin.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19. Accessed 12/5/2020. Confirmation via email correspondence with MHRA on December 17, 2020.

The vaccine provided in the UK is identical in composition to what is provided in the US. (Verbal confirmation from Pfizer representative on December 4, 2020.)

“Our vaccine is free of animal ingredients. The production of it is synthetic.” (Email correspondence from BioNTech. December 7, 2020.)

Moderna vaccine does not contain animal derivatives. (Verbal confirmations from Moderna MSL(s) on December 23 & 24, 2020.)

“Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain any preservatives, antibiotics, adjuvants, or human- or animal-derived materials.” (Official written statement from Moderna dated December 27, 2020. Also: https://covid-vaccine.canada.ca/info/pdf/moderna-covid-19-vaccine-pm1.pdf. Accessed December 28, 2020).

[v] The excipients as listed in Table 1 include salts, buffers, and sugar. The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine contains four salts including table salt. Moderna vaccine uses tromethamine, an ingredient found in commonly used medications. These ingredients are primarily used to balance pH. Additionally, Moderna vaccine includes acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, and its salt.

Islamically Permissible COVID-19 Vaccines: Summary Page

Prepared by Mawlana Mateen A. Khan MD, Dr. Ramzan Judge PharmD, Dr. Samad Tirmizi PharmD, and Mufti Adil Farooki MD.

Summary:

Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are ḥalāl and permissible to take.

Oxford-AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines are ḥalāl and permissible for use although other vaccines without ethical issues (e.g., mRNA vaccines) are preferable when available.

(See links below for more detailed explanations. Other vaccines have not been evaluated yet due to lack of information and/or vaccine unavailability in the US.)

Introduction:

In December 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted to an outbreak which would eventually be identified as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. Caused by a betacoronavirus, COVID-19 most often effects the lower respiratory tract. The virus binds to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is found in almost all organs of the body especially the lungs, brain, and gut. Therefore, the virus has the potential to affect most of the body. On March 11, 2020, the WHO officially declared it a pandemic as it quickly spread across the globe. As of February 2, 2021, there are over 103 million worldwide cases and over 2.2 million deaths have been attributed to it.[i] In an unprecedented move, countries across the world embarked on an effort to quickly develop drugs and vaccines. Linked below are articles which discuss the vaccines currently available or soon to be available in the United States including the permissibility or impermissibility of their ingredients in the Sharī`ah. It makes no assessment of the vaccines’ medical benefit or lack thereof. One should consult a qualified and trusted medical personnel to better assess personal benefit.

More Detailed Discussions:

mRNA Vaccine Page

Viral Vector Vaccine Page


[i] COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. Accessed 02/02/2021.