Today there is talk about the halal status of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, where is the critical point of its halal-ness?
The Assessment Institute for Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics Indonesian Council of Ulama (LPPOM MUI) is obliged to examine the halalness of products from upstream to downstream. This means, starting from raw materials, manufacturing processes, to packaged products. This also applies to vaccine products.
Bambang Heriyanto, Corporate Secretary of Bio Farma, said in an exclusive interview with TVONE on 12 Augustus 2020 that the COVID-19 vaccine that Biofarma is working on does not use raw materials derived from animals. Even so, the LPPOM MUI did not dare to issue a statement regarding the halal status of the vaccine before the assessment was carried out.
Director of LPPOM MUI, Dr. Ir. Lukmanul Hakim, M.Si. convey that the statement must be proven in the halal certification audit. Regarding vaccines, according to him, what needs to be highlighted is that the media used in the process of isolation, growth, and development of the virus must be ensured that they are not contaminated with unclean and forbidden things.
“When talking about vaccines, the critical point is generally the virus media used and the source of the virus. So we need to examine starting from how to weaken the virus, isolate the virus, its growth media, its development media, to the use of its production tools,” said Lukmanul.
He further explained that there is a possibility that vaccines might come in contact with pigs in the manufacturing process. In this case, if the vaccine does not contain ingredients from pork but in its manufacture, it comes into contact with pork ingredients, then even when DNA testing is carried out there will be no detection of pig DNA. This is what needs to be assessed to ensure that there is no mixing or contact with pork during the vaccine manufacturing process.
Referring to the MUI Fatwa No. 30 of 2013 concerning medicine and medication, the use of najis or haram substances in the treatment is haram. Thus, if the vaccine is made or uses ingredients from pigs in the manufacturing process, the vaccine will automatically become haram in accordance with ikhtilath principles. Ikhtilath or mixing with something unclean or haram is not allowed in halal products.
Meanwhile, Bambang acknowledged that the halal certification process needed detailed preparation. “What will be seen in the halal certification process is down to the source of raw materials. For example, if there are raw materials from other countries, it must be ensured that these raw materials already have a halal certificate. This must be prepared until it is complete so that later the halal certification process can be fast,” he explained. (YN)