Concerns grow that COVID vaccine misinformation campaigns are targeting Muslims

The UK's vaccination programme continues apace, but GP's have warned the uptake in BAME communities has been low.

They warned that misinformation has left patients reluctant to come forward.

Muslims are one of the groups of BAME patients that are reportedly being targeted.

"The fears that target the Muslim community, are that somehow the vaccine contains components that aren't halal or something else," said Imran Ahmed from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate.

Those behind the campaigns are "willing to use misinformation, misrepresentation and outright lies," he added.

Elsewhere in the world, to fight the anti-vax movement, the president of Indonesia recently received the Chinese jab in front of a poster proclaiming it was halal.

While the makers of all three vaccines available on the European market have issued statements confirming they don’t contain pork-based ingredients, historically some vaccines have.

But potentially the most influential counter-voices are those of Islamic scholars themselves.

"Believing in the medical process is one of the basic teachings of Islam," explains Islamic Scholar Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri. "They are always focussed on reason, intelligence, on scientific research, and on intellectual development."

With a recent study showing Muslim communities have been disproportionately hit by COVID, governments across Europe are now striving for all populations get vaccinated as soon as possible.