People who are observing Ramadan are being urged not to put off being vaccinated against COVID-19.

The vaccination has no nutritional value and does not contain any animal products. This means that anyone who is fasting for Ramadan will not be breaking their fast by having the vaccine.

Dr Waheed Abassi, GP in Stoke-on-Trent and a Clinical Director for NHS Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “I wish you a safe and healthy Ramadan. We have a duty to preserve life and getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent illness and loss of life from COVID-19.

“To reassure the Muslim community, the British Islamic Medical Association has reviewed the analysis of Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast. If you are still unsure whether you should have a vaccine during the holy month please speak to your local Imam for guidance.”

Watch a video of Dr Salman Waqar of the British Islamic Medical Association giving advice about vaccination during Ramadan

Anyone who is aged over 50, is a health or social care worker or has a serious underlying care condition can also book a first dose vaccination if they have not already received one.

Dr Abassi said: “I urge everyone to have the jab when offered, but please continue to follow NHS guidelines to reduce transmission and help save lives. This means remembering the principles of Hands, Face, Space – wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, wear a mask where required, and maintain social distancing. And remember that you are safer in the open air or in very well ventilated spaces.”

The British Islamic Medical Association advice also covers testing, possible side effects and social distancing.

If you are eligible you can book a COVID vaccination online or call 119 if you are unable to do this. If you received a first dose at a local GP run vaccination centre you will be contacted by your surgery.