AstraZeneca come out to assure Indonesians that its coronavirus vaccine does not have any pork ingredients. The leading vaccine developer said on Sunday, Mar 21, that the concerns raised in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, are baseless.
The development comes after Indonesia's highest Muslim clerical council, the Indonesia Ulema Council, claimed that the vaccine is "haram" as it is manufactured using "trypsin from the pork pancreas," Reuters reported. However, the report adds that the Clerics' council approved the AstraZeneca vaccine as pandemic has created an emergency.
"At all stages of the production process, this virus vector vaccine does not use nor come in contact with pork-derived products or other animal products," said AstraZeneca Indonesia director Rizman Abudaeri.
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The council and the country's food and drug agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Indonesian authorities on Friday approved the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine after reviewing reports that it had 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.
Indonesia's Food and Drug agency (BPOM) said on Friday it has approved the usage of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after reviewing reports that it had caused blood clots among some recipients in Europe.
"The benefits of giving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks ... The earlier we distribute the vaccine, the earlier we can get out of this pandemic," said health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi.
Indonesia has been grappling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Asia – with 1,437,283 cases and 38,915 deaths.
Like many countries, Indonesia had delayed administering the AstraZeneca vaccine following some reports of blood clots among people who received the vaccine in Europe, saying it was awaiting the results of a review by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Indonesia kicked off its vaccine program in January, using the Sinovac Biotech CoronaVac vaccine.
Indonesia received 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX vaccine-alliance scheme this month and is set to receive some 10 million more in the next two months.