Ramadan during COVID-19 – vaccinations and changes to lockdown restrictions
Many Muslims across Buckinghamshire will be celebrating Ramadan from 12 April, just as the country takes its next step out of lockdown.
But while some of the rules are easing, many restrictions will still be in place, affecting the way Ramadan is celebrated for the second year since the pandemic began. During this month of prayers, fasting and good deeds, people are asked to please follow the rules to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe.
If you’re attending prayers during Ramadan, please follow the guidelines in place at your local Mosque. One in three people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms. If you want to be fully confident you aren’t infectious you can take a rapid test by dropping into one of Buckinghamshire Council’s sites in Amersham, Aylesbury, Buckingham or High Wycombe. Alternatively, you can pick up testing kits to use at home. Visit www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/get-tested-for-covid-19/get-a-rapid-test for further details.
Avoiding large gatherings will also help you and all other worshippers to pray safely. To find out what the guidelines are visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july/celebrating-religious-festivals-during-coronavirus-covid-19 or contact your local place of worship.
The rules in place during the next phase of restrictions include:
- Continue to follow the rule of six (this includes children under five)
- Avoid meeting in larger groups or mixing more than two households
- Please meet people you don’t already live with outdoors – and stick to the two-metre rule.
- If you’re meeting in a private garden, please don’t go indoors, even if the weather becomes bad – this is not allowed yet.
- Don’t share items, wash your hands often, wear a mask covering nose and mouth and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- You must follow the guidance even if you have been vaccinated – no vaccine is 100% effective and it takes two doses and time to build good immunity.
The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has said that, as advised by Muslim scholars, taking the COVID-19 vaccine during Ramadan will not affect your fasting. If you have an appointment for a vaccination jab over the coming weeks – whether for a first or second dose – please make sure you attend it.
While taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, its important if you’re fasting to also manage any existing health conditions such as diabetes or a heart condition. If you’re worried about taking medication while fasting, please speak to your GP for advice.
It is important to drink plenty of fluids before fasting to reduce the risk of dehydration. Additional information on healthy eating during Ramadan is available from the British Nutrition Foundation (www.nutrition.org.uk).
Dr Rashmi Sawhney, Clinical Director for Health Inequalities at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Ramadan is an incredibly important time for Muslim communities and it is a great shame this celebration has been affected again by COVID-19. But we would please urge everyone to make sure they follow the rules to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe. While we are moving in the right direction, it is vital we follow these rules to stop cases from rising sharply again.
“I would also like to remind anyone observing Ramadan that Muslim scholars have said that having a vaccination does not invalidate your fasting. So if you have a vaccination appointment, or are invited to arrange one, please make sure you attend it. And please take every effort to stay safe and well throughout Ramadan. There is some excellent advice available for anyone with health concerns.
“Finally, I would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak – I hope that this holy month brings you peace and good health.”
For more information on vaccinations in Buckinghamshire, go to: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/community-hub/covid-19-vaccination-programme/