Vaccines against flu (Fluenz Tetra), shingles (Zostavax), and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR VaxPro) contain the product derived from pigs. It is used as a stabilizer - and according to Public Health England, may never be replaced with an alternative.
The society's Chief Executive Lynne Elliot described this inclusion of animal products in the medicine as 'upsetting', adding there should be 'vegetarian and vegan versions of all medicines and vaccines'. Some vaccines also contain other animal-derived ingredients.
When it comes to medication generally, even if medicines, including vaccines, contain animal products, The Vegan Society says: "[We] DO NOT recommend you avoid medication prescribed to you by your doctor."
However, the Society has previously called on the Government to 'find out what animal-free alternatives to prescription products already exist, and to bring them in across the board'.
It also wants: "Guidance for medical professionals about seeking consent when using animal-based medicines, and guidance for manufacturers to improve labeling, to include ingredients of animal origin, similar to the labeling of food."
"Vegans are careful to avoid the use and consumption of animals, or animal-derived ingredients, however, I think most would be surprised to find out that many common medicines are not vegan, and therefore the taking of them is not in line with their beliefs," said a Vegan Society spokesperson.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.Reuse this content
Maria is the Editor of Plant Based News. A former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our weekly newsletter and this website. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.