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?

Debate: Should Vegans Vaccinate Their Children? 1

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.”


Debate: Should Vegans Vaccinate Their Children? 2

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!

    • Chris on April 28, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      There is a mountain of evidence linking vaccines to a myriad of health issues including autism. The ‘Yes’ was poorly misinformed and clearly didn’t do any research. The ingredients are listed. Go elsewhere and research the effects. Hint is to use peer reviewed studies and affected parents and their loyal doctors rather than the guidelines by this making a profit from the sale of these vaccines including many doctors. The dogma has been exposed. Robert F Kennedy Junior I salute you and your associates for getting the information out.

  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!

      • Grace on November 24, 2019 at 1:50 am

        My Boyfriend and I are currently in this debate. Neither of us are vegan however my boyfriend is anti-vaccination due to the ingredients (specifically aborted fetus DNA and other animal proteins) he has a son from a previous marriage who is not vaccinated. I personally think that children should be fully vaccinated. I could not live with myself if my child died or had permanent ill effects from a preventable disease. So we are at a crossroads trying to find middle ground. Unfortunately every vaccine seems to have some type of animal or human products in it. Any suggestions on how we can find middle ground?

        • Baylee on April 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm

          Listen to him. The risk of getting a disease doesn’t disappear if youre vaccinated? So many studies prove mass populations of fully vaccinated people still have outbreaks. We think we become invincible through vax. Totally wrong. They also have never conducted a full vax vs unvax study on humans… some minor non funded study and ALL of them have come out saying non vax kids actually are presenting better health, less infections, less days off school, less sickness. The study to autism HAS been proven but theyll do anything to cover that. Look, not vaccinating your child at the end of the day may just take a little more work and effort, after all its your child, should we be jumping at the opportunity to pump em full of poisons that on every vax insert theres pages of side effects, most containing death? Don’t be lazy, be a parent. We aren’t all just a disease ticking time bomb. It can be avoided through diet and lifestyle and correctly raising a baby in this society. Think about it.

          • MoMo on January 3, 2021 at 6:27 am

  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.

    • John on January 7, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      Your comment bears no real backup in any form of science.

    • Angee Costa on January 13, 2020 at 5:45 pm

      Wow! Adam. What studies have you read? What stats have you reviewed? I’ve been vegan for six months now. High blood pressure-GONE! 27 pounds-GONE! Sleep apnea-GONE! Brain fog-GONE! Hot flashes-GONE! Skin outbreaks-GONE! I’ve actually READ the studies rather than just repeating what I’ve heard others say at parties. Americans begin the path toward heart disease at age 10. So if you are a meat/dairy eater older than 10, the question is not whether you have coronary atherosclerosis (blockage). The question is how much you have and whether it will lead to a cardiac event. People in Uganda have almost ZERO heart disease because they do not consume meat and cheese three times a day. My 10 and 12-year-olds are vibrant, healthy, fit, and playing outside instead of vegetating out on the couch playing video games and eating hamburgers. Taking meat off your plate REVERSES disease, and you call that smart choice “extreme?” I think perhaps you might be suffering from a bit of brain fog.

      • SRose on January 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        How did you begin the process?

    • Baylee on April 6, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      You can structure an argument without bias bro, its 2020 get it together. I was vegan 7 years, now not really, but not much has changed. And all you preach is your fear of people taking a step in the right direction. Veganism isn’t contagious hunny, its okay, its not coming for you

  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…

  7. Mia on April 29, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    Please go on YouTube immediately and look up documentaries on polio and other diseases that occur naturally without vaccines in the world. Go back in history and see why Henry the 8th in England had so many (unvaccinated) children who did not survive childhood – he was a powerful king, yet with all his wives could not have a surviving male heir. I do not want to return to a world with a high infant mortality rate. That would be BACKWARD. All the anti-vaxxers are plain ignorant and dangerous! They should be arguing against perhaps giving many vaccines all at once, not banning all vaccines. There is a big difference! We do NOT want to bring back the iron lung. And all those terrible diseases still exist – tge viruses are still around. The reason we don’t see them raging in society today is because these diseases are suppressed by people who are protected by VACCINES. Wake up, people! Stick with science, not superstition. Please! Oh, and the earth is not flat, either (but members of the Flat Earth Society will argue otherwise – that one takes us backwards 400 years or so, scientifically). But that is another conversation…

  8. Chris on August 22, 2020 at 12:57 am

    If not vaccinating one’s child is child abuse then so is Roe v. Wade. Stop calling people who resist mandatory vaccinations “anti vaxers”. They are simply pro-choice. The vast majority of people are capable of making their own personal decisions based on their individual circumstances…and beliefs.

  9. Vegetariannotvegan on September 6, 2020 at 7:14 am

    I suppose it depends on whether compassion for animals extends to human animals. Anti-vax harms people, by reducing herd immunity. Once near-extinct diseases have returned and people have died due to the actions of anti-vaxxers armed with debunked “facts” from the internet. All medicines have some side effects. But vaccines in the U.K. are heavily scrutinised before they are licensed for use, then heavily monitored afterwards. They are safe. Doctors are made aware of what to look for in people who may be vulnerable. The argument against vaccines due to harm to the patient is completely disproven.
    As regards the argument against vaccines due to animal cruelty, then this is very much valid. Thousands of animals die in the production of EVERY vaccine, medicine, surgical intervention. Since our Whole medical knowledge is built on a pile – billions high – of dead animals, a consistent vegan eschewing vaccination due to animal cruelty should perhaps also consider eschewing modern medicine altogether.
    Hope is in sight though (from science of course). Our increasing knowledge of the effects of medicines (both bad and good) our understanding of DNA and the application of AI and predictive analytics are all moving us towards a future where mass testing on animals is not necessary, because results become more predictable.

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