Muslims cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine because it may contain pork gelatin, making it haram.
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The claim went viral in December 2020 following the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which like many vaccines may contain pork gelatin as a stabilizer.
Misbar’s investigation found that on December 23, 2020, the United Arab Emirates’ Fatwa Council said that Muslims will be permitted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, even if it contains pork gelatin. The UAE Fatwa Council ruled that the pork gelatin is considered medicine and not food and thus is permissible for Muslims. Head of the council Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah said that the vaccine will "protect the human body” and so would not be included as part of Islam’s ban on pork and pork-derived products.
Food that Muslims are allowed to eat is called halal. Food that they are not allowed to eat is non-halal, or haram. Haram food includes all pork products. While several pharmaceutical companies have created pork-free vaccines for diseases such as meningitis and the flu, the rush to create a COVID-19 vaccine and quell the pandemic means that a pork-free vaccine may not be available for several years.
Until a pork-free COVID-19 vaccine is available, Muslims have been permitted by the UAE Fatwa Council to receive the vaccine containing pork gelatin.