We’re encouraging Muslims to plan ahead to ensure a healthy and safe Ramadan, which is due to start on the evening of Saturday 2 April.
This advice is particularly important for anyone who has diabetes, takes prescribed medicines or who needs a medical appointment during the holy month.
If you have diabetes
If you have diabetes and want to fast during Ramadan, please speak to your GP or diabetes nurse about the safest way to do this. Diabetes UK has lots of advice on fasting and managing your diabetes during Ramadan, including tips on healthy eating and a factsheet in English, Arabic, Bengali, and Urdu.
Remember that there is an exemption from fasting for people with diabetes, especially if you’re on insulin or have any medical complications.
Taking prescribed medicines
If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan, but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.
Attending medical appointments
If you have a medical appointment booked during Ramadan, it is very important that you attend. If you need to adjust the time of your appointment, please contact the relevant healthcare organisation to do so.
What to do if you become unwell while fasting
The British Islamic Medical Association advises that if you become unwell during Ramadan, you should stop fasting and seek medical advice. You can do this by visiting 111.nhs.uk or your GP practice’s website or if you don’t have access to the internet, by calling 111 or your practice directly.
Please remember: Fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups – including people who are unwell with a physical or mental illness or have a long-term condition; people who are very frail; people with learning difficulties; and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating. In addition, those with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 should consider alternative options to fasting.
Have you had your COVID-19 vaccination?
Ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, we're urging our Muslim community to take up the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re due for your first, second, or booster. Having the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, and those most at risk from the virus.
There are still many vaccination clinics in Tower Hamlets offering vaccination, including the East London Mosque which runs a clinic every Monday and Tuesday.
A spring booster Covid-19 vaccine is now being offered to those aged 75 and older, as well as other clinically vulnerable people. When invited, we encourage you not to delay having your spring booster vaccine during Ramadan.
Last year the British Islamic Medical Association reviewed the analysis of Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the COVID-19 vaccine does not invalidate the fast. The vaccine does not contain pork or other animal, foetal, or alcohol products – this reflects the advice of the majority of Islamic scholars that it is permissible.
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and those most at risk from the virus. First, second, or first booster doses of the vaccine are still available for anyone who has yet to have them.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 while fasting, GPs advise that you stop fasting, self-isolate and get tested – refer to the British Islamic Medical Association’s statement on having a lateral flow or PCR test during Ramadan. If you are worried about your symptoms or are not sure what to do, visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or speak to your GP practice.
Quit smoking this Ramadan
Ramadan is considered to be the ideal time for Muslims to quit smoking. If you need support with quitting you can seek advice from the Local stop smoking advisors, Quit Right Tower Hamlets, who have launched their Quit Smoking for Ramadan campaign.
In combination with advisor support, Quit Right offers residents a great opportunity to quit smoking and improve physical and mental health.
Free and friendly stop smoking advice is also available both in English and Bengali. To find out more and book a consultation visit the Quit Right website or call the helpline on 020 7882 8230 / 0800 1691943. You can also email email@example.com or text 07474 082 330.