Muslim clerics in Indonesia have rejected the use of the measles and rubella vaccine, stating that the vaccination is “unclean”.

The Indonesian Department of Health had approached the Ulama Council (MUI) hoping to be granted a fatwa – a religious proclamation – in support of their vaccination program. However, the council has declared the measles and rubella vaccine to be unclean, Perth Now reported.

Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh, secretary of the MUI Fatwa Commission, said that there should be consideration of using vaccines that are suitable for Muslims.

“The government should strive to the fullest, as well as through WHO and Muslim-populated countries, to pay attention to the interests of Muslims in terms of the need for sacred and halal medicines and vaccines,” Sholeh said.

Indonesian health authorities now face having vital vaccinations being declared illegal on religious grounds.