Halal certificates for vaccines including those for Covid-19 in the works, says govt agency

Hairol said that Malaysia is expected to be the first country in the world to come up with halal standards which can be used by global vaccine producers. — AFP pic
Hairol said that Malaysia is expected to be the first country in the world to come up with halal standards which can be used by global vaccine producers. — AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Standards to certify vaccines, including those for Covid-19, as halal or permissible for use by Muslims is expected to be available as early as next year, the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) has indicated.

According to local daily Berita Harian, HDC CEO Hairol Ariffein Sahari said that Malaysia is expected to be the first country in the world to come up with halal standards which can be used by global vaccine producers.

He reportedly said however that halal standards for biological products would need to be drawn up first to pave the way for halal-certificed vaccines, noting that there are currently already halal standards for the pharmaceutical sector but not for biological products.

“Therefore, HDC together with the Malaysian Standards Department (JSM) and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) are developing the framework for the halal standard for the biological products segment.

“The development process of that standard is almost 70 per cent complete and is expected to be fully completed in the first quarter of 2021. When that standard has been drawn up, then only can we prepare a certification scheme and logo to enable the industry to apply for the use of halal certificates in vaccines, especially Covid-19 vaccine,” he was quoted as saying yesterday at the 12th World Halal Conference.

He was also reported by Berita Harian as saying that HDC is working with companies researching and developing vaccines to produce halal vaccines.

Separately, in local daily New Straits Times, HDC chairman Datuk Mahmud Abbas was reported as saying that Covid-19 has resulted in both challenges and opportunities for the halal industry.

“For Malaysia, as custodians of the MS2424 Halal Pharmaceutical General Guidelines, the first of such standard in the world, it is incumbent upon us to act fast to address this incoming demand for halal-certified vaccines,” he was quoted as saying.

Separately, national news agency Bernama yesterday reported HDC CEO Hairol Ariffien as saying that Malaysia had imported US$25 billion in halal products and exported US$10 billion (RM40.2 billion) of halal products in 2019, and that HDC is looking to boost Malaysia’s halal exports to address this trade deficit.

While there are now 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises carrying out halal-related business locally, he reportedly said only 8,000 of these were halal-certified and with only 1,500 of these being exporters.

He was also quoted as saying that HDC is seeking to expand its operations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China within the next five years.

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