Below is a Q&A fact sheet which responds to common concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine is suitable for most people who have an immunity disorder, because it’s a very small amount of COVID-19 material that makes up the vaccine or it is only a replica of the strain, it cannot harm you in these quantities. It is a safe way to introduce your body to COVID-19 and allows your body to learn how to fight against it.
At the beginning of the vaccination programme it was difficult to tell the impact on the spread of the illness, but research in February has shown that it is making great progress to cut the spread. “One dose can reduce the risk of catching the infection by 70%. If an individual is not infected, they cannot pass it on. This means getting vaccinated could end this pandemic much quicker.
The vaccines have been declared halal by Islamic scholars and approved by the British Board of Imams and Scholars. There are no animal products in the vaccines, and it is suitable for Muslims to receive.
Many Muslims practise fasting during Ramadan, meaning nothing should enter the body including food and water, in daylight hours. Getting a vaccine does not break the rules of a fast, as it is not considered as nutrition to the body. If you are offered the vaccine during this period, you can receive it and continue practise your fast as usual.
Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca have published all the ingredients that make up the vaccines. There are no animal products or animal by-products in the vaccine and there is an alcohol known as ethanol, at an amount that is less than what can be found in bread.
Despite social media rumours, there is no micro-chip in the vaccine either.
The vaccine does not contain live Coronavirus organisms, meaning that it is very different from catching the virus through human contact. A very small group of the population are not suitable to receive the vaccine because it would put them at risk (See next question). A common side effect of receiving the vaccine is having a fever for a couple days afterwards, but this is perfectly normal, and you do not need to self-isolate because of it.
The government is encouraging as many people as possible to get a vaccination when they are offered, however some people will not be suitable to receive it due to health conditions. For example, some people have allergic reactions to some ingredients in the vaccine or weakened immune systems due to cancer or HIV. This means that it’s very important for people who can receive it to do so, it will protect the people who cannot.
Doctors cannot force patients to make a decision that they are uncomfortable with. It is their responsibility to educate people about the facts of Coronavirus and to ensure false information is corrected. Medical professionals around the world agree that it is important to educate everyone about vaccination programmes and encourage people to participate in them.
The safety of this vaccine has not been compromised. The teams that developed this vaccine were given funding and conducted some of the steps at the same time rather than waiting for each step to be complete. The clinical trials and testing has not been rushed and had to meet very strict standards before it was considered safe. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the official UK regulator, have said these vaccines are safe and highly effective.
We already know that it is possible to have Coronavirus more than once, which may mean that natural immunity may not last very long. If you have tested positive for Coronavirus, you should still take the vaccine if it is offered to you because it can prevent you getting ill again from Coronavirus.
COVID-19 can still affect people at any age, causing long term complications and can still lead to death. Typically, you will survive getting ill from Coronavirus if you are fit and young, but the symptoms are unpleasant and can be long-lasting even when you have recovered. Getting vaccinated can prevent you or others around you from passing the illness and reduces your risk of being ill.