With the highest number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is eager to begin inoculations in the coming weeks.
But one thing is standing in the way for its hundreds of millions of Muslims: Is the vaccine halal?
After waiting months for answers from Sinovac, the Chinese manufacturer whose shot will be distributed there, clerics received a one-sentence response that said: The vaccine was “manufactured free of porcine materials.”
Religious leaders want more details, as even the smallest amount of pork DNA could dissuade some devout Muslims from taking it.
President Joko Widodo has dismissed concerns, saying the emergency virus situation was the bigger priority.
It’s possible that a fatwa could be issued, as has been done in the past. Islamic authorities in other countries with large Muslim populations, like Malaysia and the U.A.E., have already ruled the vaccine to be permissible.
Indonesia hopes to inoculate 181.5 million adults within 15 months.
Courtesy – NYT