Vaccination: The Facts
Why do we need vaccines for Covid-19?
There’s no question, vaccines are our ticket out of this pandemic. The coronavirus will go wherever it wants, targeting old and young, the healthy and the unwell, at home and at work. Its No.1 goal is to infect as many people as possible. It will likely change and mutate to keep spreading but we are monitoring it and are prepared to act now.
A vaccine doesn’t eradicate a virus overnight but it does help protect millions from its effects. It allows the body’s natural defences to fight and ultimately defeat the infection. This is the first step to safeguarding ourselves, and our community, against this disease.
Are the Covid-19 vaccines compatible with my religion?
The British Islamic Medical Association has considered all varieties of the vaccine and recommends that Muslims have the vaccine. The Muslim Council of Britain is also recommending the vaccine and Imams across the UK have confirmed that all the varieties of the vaccine are halal.
The British Sikh Community has also supported the vaccine, as have Hindu leaders.
The Church of England says that all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience.
The Catholic Church has said that the vaccine, including the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is acceptable and can be morally justified.
More than 80 Jewish doctors in the UK have signed a letter to confirm that the Pfizer vaccine does not contain any ingredients that are not kosher.
The Pfizer, Oxford and Moderna vaccines have all been purchased by the Israeli government.
Orthodox Jewish groups including the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America have also encouraged their community members to get vaccinated.
The Science behind Vaccines
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a medicine that is used to prevent something from happening, rather than to treat something that has already happened.
Vaccines work to immunise people against a virus, a virus like the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.
Vaccines save millions of lives worldwide and are safer now than ever before. As with all prescription medicines, a vaccine must go through a rigorous testing and development process and be shown to meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, before it can be given to the public.
The only thing a vaccine can cause is immunity.
The History of Vaccines Explained
Vaccines have saved millions, if not billions, of lives and have been available for hundreds of years since they were first developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner. Considered the founder of vaccinology, Jenner inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with vaccinia virus (cowpox) and demonstrated immunity to smallpox. In 1798, the first smallpox vaccine was developed. Over the 18th and 19th centuries, mass smallpox vaccinations led to its global eradication in 1979.
Another famous scientist, Louis Pasteur, spearheaded the development of the cholera and anthrax vaccines in 1897 and 1904 respectively. The Plague vaccine was also invented in the late 19th century. More recently, the Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination was developed and is still in use today. Then came the tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccines.
If you have any questions about the Covid-19 vaccination programme please visit our dedicated FAQ page
Useful leaflets, videos and other information
- Easy-read guide to Covid-19 vaccination
- Helpful vaccine guide for older adults in English and other languages
- British Sign Language video explaining the 'what, why and how' of the Covid-19 vaccination programme
- The statement and position from The British Islamic Medical Association on Covid-19 vaccination.
- Video produced by actor and presenter Adil Ray OBE, with other celebrities, on why it’s important for people of minority ethnic backgrounds to have the vaccine