A nasal spray vaccine will helps protect children from the flu virus and reduces the chances of them getting sick and missing time off school has been met with backlash from some Muslim parents.
The fluenza vaccine, which is administered as a painless and quick spray up the nose, carries traces of pork gelatine.
As Muslim parents became aware of the ingredients, complaints were made and some parents refused for their child to have the vaccine.
Sparking accusations of insensitivity to Muslims, Jews and vegetarians, healthcare bosses have now been criticised for not providing an alternative to the ingredient.
Despite some media outlets taking this as an opportunity to make this into yet another matter of a “Muslim vs the everyday normalities of life” issue, it has not been highlighted that a great degree of research was done consulting Muslim and Jewish scholars.
Over one hundred 100 Islamic scholars have agreed pork gelatine was permissible within a vaccine, as it was not being consumed orally. The World Health organisation has consulted with Muslim scholars and certified Fluenz as halal.
Rabbi Abraham Adler from the Kashrus and Medicines Information Service, who has advised the government on kashrut issues has also affirmed that according to Jewish laws, there is no problem with porcine or other animal derived ingredients in non-oral products. This includes vaccines, including those administered via the nose, injections, suppositories, creams and ointments.
The public health service initiative has been rolled out this autumn to avoid children being sick and off school, missing valuable learning time.
Keith Whittlestone, head teacher at Joseph Leckie School, said: “Pupils need to be present in school to be able to learn and achieve.
“If they become ill, especially with something as serious as flu, they will miss valuable time off school, which will have an impact on their learning.”
Many medicines, including vaccines contain traces of bovine and porcine gelatine. Gelatine is an essential ingredient to make the flu nasal spray vaccine effective. Many faith groups, including Jewish and Muslim communities, have approved the use of gelatin-containing vaccines.