Opinion: Rotavirus Vaccine
Why other countries allow Rotavirus vaccine for Muslim children though it has porcine origin?
According to the 81st Muzakarah (Conference) of the Fatwa Committee National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia held on 31st March 2006 has discussed the ruling of using biothrax vaccine and rotateq vaccine that used pig sources in its production process. The Committee has decided that the usage of Biothrax vaccine and RotaTeg are not permitted based on various reason such as No urgent need at the moment, there are alternative substances or medicines besides using pig sources in the production of the said vaccines. At the same time, there is no concrete proof stating that people in the country are in dire need of such vaccine. This ruling had been decided since 2006. When the Fatwa committee discussed this issue, both scientific or technical information on the vaccine together with syara’ input were discussed in details. Basic understanding on the usage of medicine based on najs or not permissible source, the fuqaha’ of Hanafi, al-Malikiyyah, most of Mazhab Syafie’s scholar dan Hanabilah come to consensus that it is not permissible in a normal circumstances or someone is not in dire need or if replacement from halal source is available. This is also in line with the view from a famous scholar Prof. Syeikh Dr. Wahbah al-Zuhayli. However, this ruling might be change in certain circumstances with terms and conditioned applied. This is the case for JE outbreak (Japanese Encephalitis) recently whereby JE vaccination with porcine origin is permissible only for medical and personnel involved in controlling the outbreak at the designated area. I do aware some significant outbreak occurs in other third world or developing countries, which warrant the children to be vaccinated. However, in Malaysia to my knowledge, no such significant or severe rotavirus outbreak as yet. Though, I knew some reported diarrhea cases due to rotavirus. Judging from current situation in Malaysia, I am not arguing the decision made by European Council fatwa 2003, because they might consider certain countries had affected with severe rotavirus cases. I do believe that the Muzakarah of Majlis Fatwa is opened to listen from experts on their updated opinion if there is an urgent need to review such ruling. Wallahu’allam.
Prof Dr Azizi Ayob