A number of families and health care providers may wonder if immunisations are permitted based on religious beliefs, given the presence of gelatin derived from pork in some vaccines.
Leaders of the Jewish faith have declared that pork derived additives in medicines are permitted for those observant of the Jewish faith. Rabbi Abraham Adler, from the Kashrus and Medicines Information Service in the United Kingdom has advised:
“It should be noted that according to Jewish laws, there is no problem with porcine or other animal derived ingredients in non-oral products. This includes vaccines, injections, suppositories, creams and ointments”
Scholars of the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences have also determined that the process by which the original pork product is transformed into gluten, alters it enough whereby it is permitted for observers of Muslim faith to receive vaccines. A 2001 letter from the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean reported:
“the gelatin formed as a result of the transformation of the bones, skin, and tendons of a judicially impure animal is pure, and it is judicially permissible to eat”
Grand Mufti of Australia has also released supportive statements noting that the use of vaccines containing gelatin derived from pork is permitted for observant Muslims.
Seventh-Day Adventists are not forbidden to use pork derivatives in medical products.
If there are any queries regarding porcine products in vaccines please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Australian Government Department of Health: Questions about vaccination
- Institute for Vaccine Safety: Religious leaders approval of use of vaccines containing porcine gelatin
- NCIRS: Vaccine components fact sheet
Authors: Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Nigel Crawford (Director, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Georgie Lewis (SAEFVIC Clinical Manager, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)
Date: February 2019
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
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