I recently got embroiled on an online spat in a vegan Facebook group. The issue, are vaccines vegan? I 100% believe that they are, due to their role within society and the risks involved of not getting vaccinated. However, some argued it was not vegan, due to their ingredients and animal testing background.
So, are vaccines vegan? It depends on how you interpret the meaning of ‘vegan’. I go by this pretty much textbook definition;
This means that I don’t consume meat, dairy, eggs, honey or beeswax, and don’t purchase leather/ animal tested products etc. However, the key phrase within this definition is “as far as is possible and practicable”.
It is completely possible and practicable for me to not consume or use these things, as it is for anybody. We don’t need or depend on them, and by excluding them we do not suffer in any way.
However, vaccines fall under the broad umbrella of medicine. Many/most vegans view medicine separate to veganism. If you go to A&E after falling off a roof, you’re not going to deny pain relief that may have animal derived ingredients or be treated by a surgeon who may have practiced on animals. It is neither possible nor practicable to withhold necessary medical treatment.
This is why some vegans may view vaccines as different, as they are not absolutely necessary. You could live a full and illness free life by not having a vaccination, so why have something that is arguably not vegan?
Although you could technically be completely fine without any vaccinations, you could also not. University students are currently being urged to get a vaccination for the most deadly strain of Meningitis, after many students succumbed to the disease in a University environment.
Vaccines can also prevent diseases such as Cervical Cancer from occurring. The second most deadly form of cancer among women, it is vital that young girls get as much protection as they possibly can.
And what if large amounts of vegans started denying vaccines? Not only would groups of unvaccinated people being together be extremely dangerous to them, it would also allow diseases to spread beyond these groups.
Vaccination is a gift. It has stopped awful diseases from being prevalent in today’s society, and are vital for the environment in which we now live. Simply going through life hoping that those around you have been vaccinated and are safe is not enough. It is neither possible nor practicable. Are vaccines vegan? Yes.