The Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan begins this evening (12 April) and continues until the evening of 12 May or 13 May. It will be followed by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
If you are not a Muslim but have friends or colleagues who are observing Ramadan, please bear in mind people are fasting from dawn until sunset every day during the month.
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Ramadan
The British Islamic Medical Association has reviewed evidence from Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the COVID-19 vaccine does not invalidate the fast. In addition, the vaccine does not contain pork or other animals, foetal, or alcohol products – this reflects the advice of the majority of Islamic scholars that it is permissible.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine please watch the below video to hear from Muslim NHS Professionals discuss the vaccine and Ramadan.
Watch the video
Now more than ever, GPs in Tower Hamlets are urging people to stay healthy and fast safely during Ramadan. With the days being longer and warmer, this can bring an increased risk of dehydration.
Dehydration can particularly affect people with existing medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or lung disease, people who are on any medicines or are pregnant or elderly. The British Islamic Medical Association is advising people to consider the concession provided by the religion whereby those who are more at risk if they contract COVID-19 are excused from fasting at this time, and that missed fasts can be made up at a later date in the year.
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.
To stay healthy during the 30 days of Ramadan, it is important to:
- avoid long periods of time in the sun
- drink plenty of plain water during non-fasting hours
- cut back on all types of caffeinated drinks including tea, coffee, and fizzy drinks
- eat a balanced diet during non-fasting hours to keep your body functioning properly during the day. Foods that release energy slowly, including natural unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits) and protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans), will help you maintain your energy levels. For healthy meal ideas, visit nhs.uk/LiveWell
Please remember: Fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups – including people who are unwell or have a long-term condition; people with learning difficulties; and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating.
People with diabetes on insulin are advised by GPs to avoid fasting, particularly those with significant kidney, eye, or heart problems, and those who monitor their blood glucose levels should continue to do so whilst fasting.
If you think you or someone in your household has COVID-19 or develops symptoms of COVID-19 whilst fasting, you should stop fasting immediately and use the NHS 111 online service. You should only call 111 if you cannot access the internet or cannot cope at home. Do not go to your GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital if you have these symptoms.
If you have a non-COVID-19 health problem, please don't hesitate to seek medical help, via the following services:
- GP appointments - GPs will telephone triage patients first and will provide either a video consultation or face-to-face appointment if necessary. Patients who require medical advice will only be asked to visit their practice if this is deemed necessary by the clinical team.
- Extended GP opening hours (evening and weekends) - Late evening and weekend appointments are available through the GP extended access service – allowing you to be seen quickly at a time convenient to you. Appointments are available every weekday evening between 6.30pm and 10pm, and between 8am and 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Appointments can be booked by calling your own GP practice during normal working hours or by calling NHS 111.
- Pharmacy - Many non-COVID-19 illnesses can be easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy, where you can speak to a pharmacist without making an appointment. When you visit you must comply with the social distancing measures in place to protect yourself and staff.