Health ministry starts Covid-19 vaccination in Basilan after Islamic religious council declared it Halal

By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL

LAMITAN CITY, Basilan

The Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) has started vaccination of its frontline health workers in the Province of Basilan after the Islamic advisory body released the Religious Guideline No. 25 in early March declaring COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Halal.’

The declaration was made after an unverified information has circulated in BARMM that the Sinovac vaccine from China is containing pork ingredients that is Haram or forbidden in Islam religion.

To remove the elements of doubts among the vast majority of Muslims constituents of BARMM, the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta, being the Bangsamoro Government’s Islamic advisory body, released the religious guideline number 25 in early March about Covid-19 vaccine.

The guideline, signed by Bangsamoro Mufti Abuhuraira Udasan, reads “The Darul Ifta of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) sees that the vaccine for healing and preventive measure, in general, is lawful (Halal)…”

Hence, with this guideline the frontline health care workers in the province of Basilan began to receive their first shot of vaccine against Covid-19 as the MOH-BARMM started the vaccination rollout on Monday here in this city.

MOH-BARMM Assistant Secretary Dr. Abdul Halik Kasim said the province received 638 doses of Sinovac vaccines and 910 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for the start of the vaccination rollout.

Dr. Kasim added that all of 238 Basilan healthcare workers from Lamitan District Hospital (LDH), Dr. Jose Ma. Torres Memorial Hospital, Inc., and Sumisip District Hospital were among the first recipients of first shots of vaccine.

Basilan Provincial Health Officer Harrybert Hadjala, LDH Chief of Hospital Dr. Jackie Lou Eisma-Castillo, and other workers were among those who received their first vaccination shot during Monday’s ceremonial vaccination.

After being inoculated with first jab of Sinovac vaccine, Dr. Eisma-Castillo said she felt no side effects of the anti-Covid vaccine.

“There’s no pain, and wala rin akong pangingilo. Wala rin akong shortness of breath, or tumaas ang blood pressure, or nasusuka, or masakit ang tiyan,” Dr. Eisma-Castillo said.

She continually urged the public to get inoculated once the vaccine will be made available to all.

“This vaccine will actually prevent the spread of infection, and this will actually protect ourselves, our family, our loved ones, and even our community,” Dr. Eisma-Castillo added.

A total of 245 healthcare workers from six isolation and quarantine facilities, and 1,297 healthcare workers from government-owned primary care-based facilities across the province are the next groups to receive the vaccine shots.

Vaccination in BARMM started in the first week of March for the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur. A week after, vaccination also commenced in the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The province of Basilan and Lamitan City recorded a total of 210 cases of Covid-19 infection with 200 recoveries, eight deaths, and two remaining active cases as of 6pm of March 15.

The Bangsamoro region totals 4,140 cases with more than 94 percent recovery rate. It also records 76 active cases, and 156 deaths. JIJ

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