To Do or Not to Do: Vaccine Dilemma Among Indonesians During Ramadan

Diana Mariska
Vaccination in TK Kartika X-16, Mampang Prapatan, Jakarta, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo: Budhiyanto)
Vaccination in TK Kartika X-16, Mampang Prapatan, Jakarta, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. (Photo: Budhiyanto) - On March 23, President Joko Widodo gave a green light for Indonesians to return to their hometown to celebrate Ramadan and Idul Fitri holiday. In Indonesia, the tradition is called mudik, and before COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of Indonesians would participate in the tradition.

People would travel by land, air, and water; airports, stations, and ports will be filled with big-city wanderers who were eager to return to their old house and gather with parents and relatives during one of the biggest holidays in the country.

However, unsurprisingly, mudik was banned by the government in 2020 and 2021 since mobility was restricted to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

So, the nod from the state leader for mudik this year was a bit of a fresh air. But there’s a catch: people must receive their booster shots first in order to get a mudik permit.

For some who have yet to get their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, getting one during Ramadan, when Muslims are obligated to fast, seems to be the only option.

However, it raises a question: is getting vaccinated allowed during fasting? Won’t it break the fast?

For that matter, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has confirmed that getting vaccinated during Ramadan fast is safe and won’t break the fast.

Director general of Islamic education Kamaruddin Amin explained that because COVID-19 vaccine is administered intramuscularly, it doesn’t affect fasting, and it’s in accordance to a 2021 fatwa issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI.

“Getting COVID-19 vaccine for Muslims who are fasting is allowed as long as it doesn’t cause harm,” Amin said in a statement on Tuesday, April 5.

According to him, the Ministry continue to coordinate with religious affairs offices across Indonesia to educate the public and encourage them to get their shots.

Even though the safety has been confirmed, authorities in several regions still try to find a new way to invite more and more Indonesians to get their first, second, and booster jabs.

In Aceh Jaya, for example, police unit and health office in the regency host vaccination in the evening during Ramadan.

“In Ramadan, many people rarely leave their houses during the day, so to speed up vaccination, we’ve been open in the evening,” chief of operations at Ache Jaya police Asyari Handri said on Thursday, as reported by Antara.

Jakarta Metro Police has also been hosting similar initiative in Gate 59 and 60 of Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Main Stadium in Central Jakarta, and it's planned to end a week before Lebaran.

Not only making time adjustment, in Yogyakarta, the Regional Intelligence Agency (Binda) and the Indonesian Mosque Council (DMI) bring public vaccination to Masjid Jogokariyan and other mosques in the province.

Tag # vaccination in indonesia # indonesia ramadan # ramadan in indonesia # ministry of religious affairs # indonesian ulema council # indonesia mudik # president joko widodo

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