Gelatin derived from pigs is used as a stabilizer in some vaccines but the consumption of pork is forbidden to Muslims, who make up 90% of the Indonesian population.
Messages have been circulating on social media in Indonesia saying that the Sinovac vaccine contains elements of monkeys.
President Widodo, a Muslim himself, has said it shouldn’t matter because it’s a heath emergency, but some have been looking for religious guidance.
The Indonesia Ulema Council, whose job it is to decide such things, held long discussions, and after an in-depth audit, it announced that the Sinovac vaccine is halal.
Previously, 40% of people surveyed by the Ministry of health had expressed doubts about the Covid-19 vaccine, and 7% said they did not want to be vaccinated.
Concern about whether the vaccine was halal or not was one of the key reasons, said Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, Ministry of Health’s spokesperson for the Covid-19 vaccination program.