Mass Covid-19 vaccination necessary to curb spread of virus, say religious leaders

Five doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine before they are distributed to doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital in Washington December 14, 2020. — Reuters pic
Five doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine before they are distributed to doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital in Washington December 14, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Vaccination is important as a preventative measure which is demanded by all religions to prevent the spread of diseases or epidemics, such as Covid-19 because of its effect on the human population, said religious leaders.

They are of the opinion that taking the vaccine is a trait that is demanded and categorised as a good practice for a person’s own health, the surrounding people, the community and the country as a whole.

Federal Territories mufti Dr Luqman Abdullah said the Covid-19 is a pandemic that could risk the lives of other Muslims and therefore, precautionary measures should be taken to prevent it from spreading and endangering others.

“As we know, there is no specific law that (Covid-19) vaccination (when available in the market) is mandatory. So we have to move within the legal framework. The vaccination is harus (in Islam), but it should be encouraged on the advice of the Ministry of Health that it is necessary to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If the vaccination is not given priority, there will be the possibility of the presence of other diseases that are feared will bring similar problems like Covid-19. So, when the vaccine is available, it will prevent that situation,” he told Bernama.

The government is still waiting for the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Conference of Rulers for the fatwa (edict) on the use of the Covid-19 vaccine among Muslims in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Senator Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said, the decision of the Special Muzakarah Committee Meeting on the matter had been presented to the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal last week.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported to have said that the Covid-19 vaccine would be given free to Malaysians, while foreigners would be charged a certain fee to be determined by the Health Ministry.

The Prime Minister also said the government had no plan to make the vaccination compulsory and the vaccine will be administered only to those who agree to take it voluntarily, especially those who are at risk and prone to diseases.

Meanwhile, Luqman, who is a former lecturer in the Department of Fiqh and Usul, Academy of Islamic Studies, Universiti Malaya (UM), said there is a need to ascertain the vaccine is sourced from halal ingredients and is certified by the Health Ministry, as well as the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) to avoid a prolong polemics.

“As such, it is important that Muslim scientists around the world mobilise their efforts  to come up with a vaccine that is 100 per cent from halal ingredients or sources, as well as to ensure that it has no side effects or negative effects,”  he added.

He said administration of vaccines from non-halal sources for Muslims is allowed, but depending on the situation and circumstances as long as it does not deviate from Islamic law.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk RS Mohan Shan said the vaccination should be given to all for the well-being of the people, regardless of religion, race and country.

“It is an important for health. A good person is one who does not bother give problems to others and is not selfish.

“Do not die in vain because of Covid-19. We need to prioritise health and vaccination is the best preventive measure,” he added.

Meanwhile, president of then  Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM) Sister Loh Pai Ling said  the practice of doing good,  as taught by Buddha, also includes taking the vaccination because of its good to the individual concern and society.

She said Covid-19 vaccine could make the world a safe, healthy and stable place to stay.

“We need to have pure and good intentions to make the country or world a safe place with a community that is healthy and free of Covid-19.

“However, those who refuse to take the vaccination, must follow the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOP), she said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Gurdwara Council president Sardar Jagir Singh said the Sikh religion does not ban vaccination as a measure against the Covid-19 threat.

“It is also important for the community to take vaccine for personal safety and also for the good and safety of the community. If we do not want to take the vaccination, we will be threatening ourselves, as well as the safety of our family and the community we live in,” he added. — Bernama

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