LOCAL health leaders in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are urging people observing the holy month of Ramadan not to delay having their Covid vaccine if they are eligible.

Some NHS vaccination sites across England are extending their opening hours so that Muslims can receive the jab after they have eaten and make it easier for people to find a convenient slot.

Dr John Pepper, GP and chair of the Clinical Commissioning Group, said that there were no dangers for people observing Ramadan.

"We know that some people have concerns about having the vaccine during Ramadan," said Dr Pepper.

"However, the British Islamic Medical Association, along with Islamic scholars and the NHS, has confirmed that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast and anyone concerned about experiencing side effects should remember that breaking the fast to take medication if they feel unwell is also permitted.

"The vaccine also does not contain pork or other animal, foetal or alcohol products.

"The Covid-19 vaccine is effective and the best way of protecting yourself and your loved ones.

"It is vital that people of all faiths feel able to come forward and get the vaccine."

Ash Ahmed, a member of the Clinical Commissioning Group and a practising Muslim, added: "Assalamualaikum and Ramadan Mubarak to my fellow Muslims.

"As Muslims we have a duty to preserve life and getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent illness and loss of life from Covid-19.

"A lot of hard work has gone into bringing the vaccines to our local communities to protect our most vulnerable, and we have already vaccinated thousands of people in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

"We must now stand together and not allow this progress to halt during Ramadan.

"Islamic scholars have made it clear that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast, however if you are still unsure whether you should have a vaccine during the holy month please speak to your local Imam for guidance.

"I urge everyone to have the jab when offered, but please continue to follow government guidelines to reduce transmission of the virus and help save lives."