Ramadan is underway around the world with staff members across Western Sydney Health Local District (WSLHD) sharing special moments of the holy month together.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from just before dawn to sunset. According to the tradition, at sunset the family gathers for the fast-breaking meal known as “Iftar”.
It will end in May with Eid-Al-Fitr but until then our Muslim staff working afternoon shifts will be sharing the moments of Ramadan with one another.
For registered midwife May Chowdhury, her second Ramadan at WSLHD is even more special than the last.
“Last year I was the only one fasting in Westmead Hospital maternity unit. Now I have a few new Muslim colleagues, so we will be doing it together,” May said.
The colleagues are planning to break fast together when they are working a shift that coincides with Iftar timing.
“It is lovely to have someone you can share these moments with. Everyone in our ward is so understanding – they always make sure we can have our break around Iftar time,” the registered midwife said.
“If it gets too busy, I would just have some water and a date, and have my meal when I can.”
Another fact that makes this Ramadan special is the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination of the frontline workers.
The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) has confirmed the COVID-19 vaccines are halal and permissible according to Islamic teaching.
Westmead Hospital operation theatres hospital assistant Rayan Ahmad received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine one day before the start of Ramadan.
She said she would not hesitate getting the vaccine during the holy month and is due to get her second does in two weeks whilst Ramadan is still underway.
“It is scientifically proven that there is no nutritional value in the vaccine, so it is okay to receive your shot even as you fast,” Rayan said.
“It is designed to make you immune to the virus, and it’s important for us to make sure we and everyone around us are safe.
“To my fellow Muslim colleagues, Ramadan Mubarak and stay safe.”
Western Sydney is home to a large Muslim population and while COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, it is important to stay vigilant.
How to have a COVID safe Ramadan
Continue to practice COVID safe behaviours
Gather with friends and family outdoors if possible to protect yourself and loved ones. If gathering indoors, choose large well-ventilated spaces.
Make sure you follow the rules about how many visitors you can have at your home and how many people can gather in an outdoor public place.
If you go to a place of worship, wear a mask if unable to physical distance.
Don’t hug or kiss people who are not from the same household as you.
Physically distance where you can. If you cannot stay 1.5 meters distance away from anyone you don’t live with, wear a mask
Don’t share utensils and foods.
Wash your hands regularly.
COVID-19 testing is free, quick and easy
If you have a fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, please get tested for COVID-19 immediately.
Stay home until you get a negative test result, even if you are feeling better. This is to keep your loved ones, friends and colleagues safe.
There is no limit to the number of tests you can have at COVID-19 testing clinics. In NSW, most people receive their test results within 24 hours.
Vaccination is safe, effective and free
You are strongly recommended to get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn.
When you get vaccinated, you are helping to protect yourself, your family and the whole community.
The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) confirms the COVID-19 vaccines are halal and permissible according to Islamic teaching. They do not contain pork products, gelatin, animal products, or the live COVID-19 virus.
During Ramadan, Muslims can get the COVID-19 vaccine while they are fasting. The vaccine does not have nutritional value and will not invalidate or break the fasting.