The Darul Uloom Halaal Committe (DUHC) of Trinidad and Tobago has cleared the Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, Sinopharm, and Janssen Covid-19 vaccines as being compliant with halaal requirements and permissible for use by the Muslim community.
DUHC’s Chief Halal Auditor Shiraz Ali told the Express investigations were done on all the vaccines previously mentioned, including AstraZeneca, which was also found to be halal compliant and cleared earlier this year.
He said, “For halal products to be permissible for Muslims to consume, there are a number of things we look at. The first thing we check for is if there are any pig derivatives in the items. We want to know if there are any pork ingredients. Things like gelatin come from the pig, and as such would not be allowed. It is also possible to get gelatin from other animals such as the cow. For us to be able to use them, it would have to be halal slaughtered.”
What does halal slaughtered mean?
Halal is Arabic for permissible. To be classified as halal, animals must be well cared for and free from blemish (scars or injuries). Halal slaughter entails one pass of the blade across the throat of the animal, severing the carotid arteries, jugular vein, and trachea.
The DUHC is the main body in the country for halal certification. They also provide this service to other countries in the Caribbean, such as Suriname, Barbados, Grenada, and Guyana, to name a few.
Ali said, “We look at the ingredients that are in the vaccine, not necessarily the main active ingredient but some of the fillers they would have used. We also look at any ingredients coming from animals such as the pig, and other animals that might be consumable but must be halal slaughtered. We also look at alcohol content, and if there is a high level of alcohol in the vaccine.”
“We not only look at the ingredients meeting halal requirements but we look at the entire process in making the product. We want to ensure it is a pure process. There is no contamination or cross contamination in halal production when there are various items being made at one facility,” he added.
Ali said while there have been discussions with some of the Covid vaccines that materials used came from aborted fetal cells, this is not true.
“We have looked at all of those issues through our investigation. We even looked at the adenovirus that came from a chimpanzee. While loosely people say it is coming from aborted fetal cells, this is a lie started in 1942, and has been replicated hundreds of thousands of times,” Ali said.
While it might have been the case decades ago with other vaccines, it is not so now, he added.
When Trinidad and Tobago first began rolling out the vaccine, Ali said, there was some hestitancy within the Muslim community.
The issue was not whether or not they should take the vaccine, but what are the ingredients in the vaccine, and is it halal compliant, Ali said.
“There are Muslims who are conscientious about what they consume. With regards to anything they eat or drink, they would want to know if it is permissible to consume,” he said.
“We did a certificate for Astrazeneca in February. When the Prime Minister announced that other brands would be coming in, people began asking about the other brands of vaccine. We looked at the others and found them to be permissible,” he said.
According to Ali, since Covid vaccines meet halal requirements, this should quell some of the hesitancy within the Muslim community regarding the vaccine.
He also encouraged Muslims, and by extension, the rest of Trinidad and Tobago, to go and get vaccinated.