By Jordan Howell
Doctors have moved to reassure the Muslim community that having a Coronavirus vaccine is safe and permissible during the holy month of Ramadan.
It comes as a new vaccination hub in the Riverside area of Cardiff starts operating, within the Jalalia Mosque & Islamic Education Centre.
Dr Emaad Allaudin is one of the doctors working at the mosque, delivering vaccinations to those within the community.
Speaking about the reluctance of those currently celebrating Ramadan to have a vaccine, he said: “The COVID vaccination is perfectly fine to have during Ramadan. The vast majority of Islamic scholars in the UK and around the world say that is absolutely fine from an Islamic point of view.
“Some people are concerned with regards to the side effects, and how that affects their fasting… It shouldn’t affect it, but if you do feel unwell you are allowed to break your fast, as with any other illness during Ramadan.”
The hub is a partnership between the mosque and Muslim Doctors Cymru – the group of doctors of which Dr Allaudin is working as part of.
But, more generally, take-up of the vaccine by those within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community has been slow.
Research by Public Health England between June 2020 and January of this year indicated that the Coronavirus death rate for Black people is 254 people per 100,000, and those from an Asian background 372 people per 100,000. In comparison, those who belong to the White ethnic group have a death rate of 146 people per 100,000.
The disparity between the groups could be down to a number of things, including genetics.
Dr Allaudin said: “Normally, people from ethnic communities do have larger households and do have more close connections with their family. As a result, you may have one or two generations living in the same house together. So, therefore, it can spread quite easily.”
“In terms of people being affected more severely by COVID, obviously genetics play a part, and there is a lot of health inequality in the community.”
Vaccinations at the mosque are currently being given every Sunday, between 2:30pm and 5:30pm. If you’re eligible, you can book a vaccination slot by following the instructions at jalaliamosque.org.uk