Health authorities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said the region is sure to receive vaccines against Covid-19 certified as “halal” or permissible to the Islam faith.
Dr. Amirel Usman, acting head of the BARMM health office, said Muslims prefer “halal” vaccines under Islam. “We want it to be halal,” Usman told the Philippine News Agency in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
“However, the Islamic body may allow the use of any vaccines since it is a human health necessity and for health protection,” he added.
Usman said there was an assurance from the Department of Health central office that BARMM is assured of “CoronaVac,” a vaccine manufactured by the Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
“I was told that ‘halal’ vaccines have arrived in the country. We are just waiting for its distribution to BARMM,” Usman added.
He noted that Sinovac is “halal” as certified by the Indonesian halal certification body, while the Philippine halal certification board can certify AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines once they are made available in the Philippines.
He said the Ministry of Health-BARMM has embarked on a massive information drive to educate the Bangsamoro people that the anti-Covid vaccines are safe and halal.
“We need to educate our people so they will not resist vaccination like all other our vaccination programs, which were welcomed by the people,” Usman said, adding that the region is ready and storage facilities for the vaccines are in place.
He said there is no specific date yet on the arrival of vaccines and the date of mass vaccination in the BARMM.
The BARMM comprises the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi; the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan; and also the 63 villages in six towns of North Cotabato province. (PNA)