As Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca shots are rolled out across the UK, we’re answering your questions about vaccines, COVID-19 and the vegan lifestyle.
Are vaccines tested in animals?
Companies that make vaccines and other drugs are required by law to conduct certain tests, some of which involve the use of animals, before they can market their products.
PETA and our international affiliates are working with government agencies in the UK and overseas to change this requirement by addressing the scientific shortcomings of animal testing and promoting the development, use and adoption of modern non-animal testing methods.
Can i get the COVID-19 vaccine if i am vegan?
The goal of vegetarianism and animal rights should always be to improve the lives of animals. Since animal testing is a legal requirement, not taking a drug for ethical reasons will not help animals that have already been tested or save them from the same fate in the future.
What needs to happen is a change in the law so that animals are no longer tested, and you can most effectively do this by using your voice to speak up for animals in laboratories and support our work. To keep yourself and others as fit and healthy as possible – and to allow you to continue to protect the animals – follow your doctor’s advice on medication.
Do COVID-19 vaccines contain animal ingredients?
The vaccines produced by Pfizer / BioNTech, Oxford / AstraZeneca and Moderna, which were recently approved for use in the UK, do not contain animal ingredients, although animal materials may have been used in the manufacturing process. It is possible that future COVID-19 vaccines will contain ingredients of animal origin. An example of such an ingredient is shark squalene – an oil derived from shark liver – which is sometimes added to help the vaccine better stimulate the immune response. It will only be possible to know if a future vaccine contains ingredients of animal origin if and when it is approved for use, at which point it will be possible to select a vaccine that does not contain them for ethical reasons. Again, this is something you should discuss with your doctor.
Is there a link between COVID-19 and meat consumption?
Yes. We cannot ignore the link between eating animals and outbreaks of diseases such as COVID-19. The voracious human demand for meat, eggs and dairy products means that vast numbers of animals are being raised under intense confinement in giant, filthy barns, slaughtered into overcrowded trucks and slaughtered on slaughter floors soaked in blood, urine and other body fluids. These conditions are breeding grounds for new strains of dangerous bacteria and viruses.
How can I help prevent animal testing?
Support PETA’s research modernization deal: our strategy to replace animals in vaccine development and other biomedical research and regulatory testing. With more investment in animal-free methods, scientists in the UK will be able to develop more effective treatments for human diseases. This will help end the almost unimaginable suffering of millions of mice, rats, dogs, primates, rabbits, fish and other animals.
Please sign our petition urging the government to support PETA’s research modernization deal and end animal experimentation: