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Debate: Should Vegans Vaccinate Their Children?

We pick out some popular debates in the vegan world and tackle them head-on. This debate looks at whether vegans should use vaccinations.


Should vegans vaccinate their children?

For many parents, the risks of the disease they are vaccinating against outweigh other concerns. Mother of one, Ruth Brown, says: “There is a lot of scare-mongering about vaccines and autism, resulting from an old report. But evidence has, time and time again, dismissed the causal link between these jabs and autism, and I would like to see people catching onto this, because I feel they are putting not only their own children at risk, but others too.

“As a vegan, I understand the argument against using medicine as it has been tested on animals, but here, I feel I have to approach the bigger picture. In everything I have control over, I make compassionate choices, I never eat, wear, or am entertained by animals. I am very careful to only use cruelty-free products, and I research companies and their affiliate organisations before buying anything from them.

“When it comes to vaccines and medicines, unfortunately, these have been tested on animals, and may even contain animal-derived ingredients. But there is no alternative cruelty-free option, and in this case, I have to consider the health of my child. Veganism is about making the best choices, and doing the absolute best I can – after all, it is impossible to be perfect.”

She feels the vast majority of bad reactions to the injections tend to be short-lived, meaning the benefits – freedom from diseases such as polio –are key in making the decision.

“Seeing children get preventable diseases is heart-breaking,” she explains. “It’s time to educate people about the reality of these jabs, rather than relying on the media hysteria of the past. Lots of parents are making potential life and death decisions, because understandably, they have been misinformed.”


There are a range of reasons why some vegan parents choose not to immunise their children, with some fears about the potential health risks caused by vaccines.

According to Lily Thirk: “I have two children, and I have never vaccinated either of them, and neither has suffered from ill health because of it. The biggest concern for me was that these injections could actually harm my kids, and I just can’t take that risk. I’ve read about a link between certain vaccines – especially the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella jab) and autism.” [a 1998 paper published in medical journal The Lancet made the claims, but was later discredited].

This paper, by Andrew Wakefield, is often cited in the case against vaccination, despite the fact it was later undermined. Media at the time picked up on the paper, and reported it widely, which is one of the reasons the fear generated by the piece continues to affect some parents. At the time of the report, there was a sharp drop in the number of children being injected with the vaccine, with one medical journal later commenting that the report was the most ‘damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years’.

But for Lily, this is not the only reason to avoid the vaccinations. She says: “As a vegan, I avoid using animals, and that includes medicine – which has been tested on animals – and medications which actually contain animal parts of their secretions.

“I also look at vaccines as the product of a huge pharmaceutical industry that favours profit over health. I have seen children suffer some terrible reactions to being vaccinated – they are being injected with toxic chemicals after all – but I have yet to see any problems with my non-vaccinated children.”



We have presented you with two sides of the argument, but what do you think?

Have your say below…


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  1. Leonhard Printz on February 22, 2019 at 8:29 am

    The real answer is yes, and there is nothing wrong with vegans using vaccines despite them containing animal products. Vegans, if the movement is to make sense, should be committed to using as few animal products as practically possible. In this case, not using animal products, would mean denying your children and yourself from vaccination, which isn’t practical.

  2. Wilson Tarbuckles on March 10, 2019 at 2:44 am

    I just hope that vegans who oppose the cruel way of getting Fetal Bovine Serum also oppose murdering yet to be born human babies!

  3. Nic Ammundsen on March 16, 2019 at 7:32 am

    If the world didn’t have vaccinations we do all be dead from small pox. Being anti vaccination is as good as being pro plauge. It’s common sense… Wait until a measles out break happens then see how resolute all the anti vaccers are.

    • Zoë Marley on April 28, 2019 at 6:22 am

      Wow hold your horses Adam! Negatively generalising about a group of fellow humans who are simply trying to do their best ethically just isn’t intelligent! Calm down and research properly. There are always pros and cons. I’m not vegan or anti vaccination, but we could all do with being more mindful of the extreme cruel practices in the meat industry and its negative impact on the environment. The pharmaceutical industry also has a long history of animal abuse which we shouldn’t simply ignore. Veganism is a shift in priorities which might well be part of mans evolutionary psychology. If we hadn’t evolved we would all still be making human sacrifices and keeping slaves! A little more compassion and empathy please!

  4. Adam Hamilton on April 14, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Vegans should not have children if they plan on raising them with their extreme moral based and scientifically dangerous adult diet choice, it’s the equivalent of child abuse or dietary neglect , safe to assume that vegan parents will not make the scientifically correct choice, they will impose their extreme belief on the children concerning vaccination.
    Veganism is a poorly conceived western priveledged extremism diet and should be kept off the plates of children.
    Vegans act with their self inflated egos first and logic a distant second so yes, they should vaccinate their dietarily abused children.

  5. Reichen Kuhl on April 29, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Let’s be honest. Adam (above) is 100% wrong and the only “poorly conceived” diet is the fat, cancer-causing Euro-American diet that disregards any basics of nutritional principals for some societal superiority complex and belief that meat needs to be in our diet–at all. Meat…the culmination of nutrients only begotten from that animal eating PLANTS. It’s not rocket-science, people. The diet to which Adam subscribes is quite literally ruining our planet, torturing animals, and causing all sorts of heart, organ, and skin diseases in humans, and CAUSES CANCER…YES, causes CANCER as proven over 800+ studies and as endorsed by the World Health Organization. Those with the intellect, compassion, and mustard-seed sized ability to think anywhere outside of their own consumer-based, television-commercial driven fit in to a society that America now is, can actually look at facts (not twisted “morals”) to determine that we should not only avoid meat when it comes to our children, but we should run from it. The consumption of meat by the human population is not sustainable–not even close. Those living in this “golden era” which is rapidly ending will look only at their day-to-day life and feelings of satisfaction but no where else when it comes to their diet decisions…and those people will crap on the vegan lifestyle. Pay no attention to them other than to try your best to share the facts. The only “extreme” behavior is the holocaust of animal-prisons and abuse that has become of our whole farming system to support the demand for meat by the population that is raping and pillaging the earth…and using animals to create more of us “people” to rape and pillage the earth even more. We are the problem. As for vaccinations, we should test not on animals but on WILLING PAID PARTICIPATING HUMANS. If humans want to increase their survival and population, then humans should pay the cost. Animals are not ours to rape and pillage to make the problems we are already causing even worse.

  6. Bob on May 16, 2019 at 12:36 am

    I believe that is vegans complain about using animal cells they might as well complain that the cities and their houses are costing animals sacred living space. Or as a certain someone called it Lebensraum…

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