Muslims parents in England refused to permit their children to get flu vaccines after the Muslim Council of Britain ruled the treatment is ‘non-halal’.
Public health officials are concerned over the increasing number of Muslim children expected to be withdrawn from a major flu vaccine drive, The Telegraph reported.
The programme is set to begin in schools next month. Every child of primary school age will be offered a nasal spray to protect people of all ages from the virus.
However, Muslim parents have been told that the Fluenz spray is forbidden by Islam because it contains gelatin — derived from pigs, which are considered unclean.
The situation will add to the “risk of major flu outbreaks”, the Royal College of Public Health said. It urged the government to provide a halal alternative to the vaccine.
There is an alternative to the spray without gelatin, but that is only offered to kids at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
The programme has led to a reduction in flu cases. The nasal vaccine has been available since 2013 and was gradually offered to healthy nursery-aged children.
“We have consulted scholars and this is their view… we need another vaccine which is halal,” Dr Shuja Shafi, the chairperson of the Muslim Council of Britain’s research and documentation committee said.