Keighley Muslims have been advised a nasal spray flu vaccine for youngsters is compatible with Islam.

But local religious leaders have questioned this view.

Shirley Brierley, consultant in public health for Bradford Council, was responding to concerns this type of vaccine was derived from pork.

She said: “Flu isn’t just a cold – it’s a very contagious illness that can result in death – we’d encourage anyone eligible for a flu vaccination to have one.

“The injectable form of the flu vaccine is suitable for all eligible people 18 years and over, and also very young children under two years of age.

“All eligible children between two and 17 years will be offered Fluenz vaccine via a nasal spray, which is more effective for this age group.

“It contains porcine gelatine, but this is understood to be a transformed product and acceptable within Islamic and Jewish communities.

“In 2001, the World Health Organisation consulted more than 100 Muslim scholars and confirmed the gelatine is considered halal.”

However, Mohammed Saleem, Keighley Muslim Association spokesman, said he understood the nasal spray is not acceptable for Muslims when there is an injectable form of vaccine available.

“As the nasal spray contains a form of pork gelatine, it would not be permissible for Muslims to administer,” he said. “Therefore, Muslim children should be offered the injection as an alternative.”