The MUI will maintain its principle of transparency related to the novel coronavirus vaccines
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has urged Muslim communities nationwide to stay calm and avoid creating undue narratives on the halal status of COVID-19 vaccine candidates to later be utilized for the vaccination program.

"The MUI will maintain its principle of transparency related to the novel coronavirus vaccines," Director of the MUI Food and Drug Analysis Agency (LPPOM MUI) Lukmanul Hakim was quoted by ANTARA as saying here, Saturday.

Drawing reference to the Sharia Law, Hakim maintained that in emergency circumstances as in the case of this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation wherein medicines or vaccines are yet unavailable, a vaccine product, with unclear halal status, is permissible for Muslims.

"Regarding the permissibility of COVID-19 vaccines during emergency circumstances, I think it is justified by legal guidance. Insya Allah (God willing), the issuance of 'fatwa' (religious order) of the vaccines follows the guidance of the Sharia Law," he explained.

Hakim cited the example of the Fatwa Commission of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) that declared that in emergency circumstances, the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine usage was permissible despite its porcine origin.

A similar approach could be followed for the COVID-19 vaccine-related fatwa if vaccine products were declared to have no halal status, he pointed out.

Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, concurrently the non-active chairman of MUI, had earlier remarked that the COVID-19 vaccines are permitted in the wake of emergency circumstances and no other solutions in sight as revealed in MUI's fatwa, Hakim stated.

The LPPOM MUI's team of auditors along with the representatives of the Indonesian Health Ministry, Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), and other related agencies had visited China in mid-October to audit the country's vaccine products, he remarked.

In ensuring the halal status of a vaccine product, Hakim highlighted three substantial issues, including sources or materials used in the vaccine's production process.

A pharmaceutical industry is also demanded to utilize equipment, facilities, and production procedures that can guarantee the halal status of its vaccine products; and the authentication of its products is proven through credible laboratory tests, he stated.

The Indonesian government has consistently expressed confidence in the potential of the COVID-19 vaccines to help it win the fight against the coronavirus pandemic that has posed a serious threat to public health and the economy.

Over the past few months, the government has made all-out efforts to secure the procurement and supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines for Indonesians through a bilateral and multilateral cooperation scheme.

The government is also supporting research efforts for developing the country's own COVID-19 vaccine, named after the colors of the national flag, Merah Putih (Red and White).

Through a bilateral cooperation, Indonesia has cooperated with China and the United Kingdom for the procurement and supply of this COVID-19 vaccine.
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Translator: Anom P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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