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SuperVegan Readers on the Flu Shot

Filed under: Health & Nutrition

Last week, Jason blogged about Sakile S. Chenzira, a vegan person who got fired for refusing to get a flu shot. Flu shots, you see, are made with eggs, which are decidedly not vegan. Want to know how to grow a flu vaccine? Here’s a fun interview explaining the process. Or, if you enjoy reading, here’s an explanation of how the flu vaccine is made. There is talk of moving production away from ovum  (that’s latin for eggs– fancy!), but even those seem to involve “animal cells.”

So, we asked:


And a lot of you answered:

Do you have thoughts of your own on the flu shot? Share them with us, either on Twitter or in the comments here, or both!


  1. Comment by

    Rick Mendez

    on #

    Even if I weren’t a vegan, it would definitely be a “NO” for the flu vaccine. We have been lied and misinformed about the ingredients and affects of such a vaccine! Mercury, aluminum and other known toxic ingredients to humans are in the vaccine. Why would you want to risk adverse affects from the vaccine, if you have other existing conditions? We should be working on building and stregthening our own immune system naturally without foreign chemicals that our bodies are unfamiliar with. Lemons & limes, garlic, ginger, peppermint and many other fruits, herbs and natural aromatic things can assist the body naturally in preventing or fighting temporary things such as the flu. No thank you vaccine companies! Pushing vaccines for the sole purpose of profit under the deception of public health.

  2. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    I’m surprised that (so far) nobody has responded with a fundamentalist “hell no, that’s not vegan and you can’t call yourself a vegan if you get it”. Those people pop up pretty reliably, but maybe this is a gray area for them, too?

  3. Comment by

    Stacy De-Lin

    on #

    As a vegan and a physician, I recommend that people get their flu shot. I recently posted this on my facebook wall and a fellow vegan asked about this same issue. I’ll copy and paste my response below about this.

    I would also like to comment on Rick’s post above… most vaccines, including the flu shot, are now thimerosal (mercury) free. While thimerosal vaccines exist, I usually give mercury-free vaccines, as do most doctors. However, large scale trials have shown that thimerosal is safe. Unfortunately, the natural remedies Rick listed above, while certainly not harmful, have never been shown in any studies to either prevent or treat the flu.

    Anyway, here was my post. Thanks, SuperVegan, for taking up this question!


    Flu vaccines, sadly, are not cruelty-free. No vaccine or medication (over the counter or prescription) is free from animal testing. It’s an outdated and cruel system which I, as a physician, speak out against often. Animal trials rarely correlate to safety in humans, and sometimes provide disastrous results– I’ll attach this great Slate article about this issue below. That being said, the system is what it is, for now. While we have choice to avoid animal products in foods and animal-tested cosmetics and household products, we don’t have the same choice when it comes to medicine. It would be disastrous to recommend that vegans reject all vaccines and all modern medicine. In order to continue to fight for animal rights, we’ve got to stay alive. And while the flu may not kill YOU as a young, healthy person (although you certainly might FEEL like you’re going to die), if you were to transmit the flu to an elderly person or child on the subway, they might not survive. I got a flu shot to protect my patients and those around me.

  4. Comment by


    on #

    i wish the vaccine wasn’t made with eggs, but i will possibly consider getting the flu shot next year because i had the flu a couple weeks ago and it was horrible. i consider myself a healthy vegan but that didn’t prevent me from getting the flu. I am concerned about the thimerosal/mercury in the vaccines. some of the vaccines do contain mercury so i would make sure i was getting a mercury free vaccine. the following is from the CDC website. Since seasonal influenza vaccine is produced in large quantities for annual immunization campaigns, some of the vaccine is produced in multi-dose vials, and contains thimerosal to safeguard against possible contamination of the vial once it is opened. The single-dose units are made without thimerosal as a preservative because they are intended to be opened and used only once. Additionally, the live-attenuated version of the vaccine (the nasal spray vaccine), is produced in single-dose units and does not contain thimerosal.

  5. Comment by


    on #

    I have been vegan for nearly 24 years. I have found that, unless we grow our own foods, make our own clothes, cleaning supplies, medicines, etc., the chances are very good that we’ve partaken in some things non-vegan, knowingly or otherwise. I know that I make every effort to avoid those things that are derived from animals and/or cause animal suffering. For years, I have refused the flu shot. It never mattered to me how severe the outbreaks have been, I have stuck to my vegan guns and took my chances. I live in NYC and we’ve had pretty big outbreaks. I’ve had the flu before and it sucks. I am pretty healthy and I lived through it. This year, things are different. I have a 5 month old baby. She is too young to get the flu shot herself but is considered “at risk.” Therefore, I had to make the difficult decision to get the shot this year. For a moment, I felt as if I sacrificed my “vegan cred,” but my daughter’s health is more important to me than any badge of honor. I do not like the way they are made and know they can be made safely without animal ingredients. I will again write the pharma companies and express to them the importance of veg based inoculations, but right now, I can live with the decision I made knowing that I am taking an extra step to protect my daughter.