AstraZeneca is fighting Indonesian Muslim vaccine concerns

Jakarta: AstraZeneca said Sunday its Covid-19 vaccine does not contain ingredients derived from pork, in the face of assertion in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, that the drug violates Islamic law.

The Indonesian Council of Ulemas, the highest Muslim religious council in Indonesia, said on its website on Friday that the vaccine is “forbidden” because the manufacturing process uses “trypsin from the pork pancreas”.

Nevertheless, the Board approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in an epidemic emergency.

But AstraZeneca Indonesia spokesman Rizman Abudaeri said in a statement: “In all stages of the production process, this virus carrier vaccine is not used and does not come into contact with products derived from pork or other animal products.”

The council and the country’s Food and Drug Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Friday, Indonesian authorities approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reviewing reports that it has caused blood clots among some recipients in Europe.

Indonesia is grappling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia – with 1,455,788 cases and 39,447 deaths as of Saturday.

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