Vegans do not eat meat, fish, poultry, etc., and also do not use animal products or their by-products.
So in addition to eating a plant-based diet, like vegetarians, you also don’t eat eggs or cheese, drink milk, or wear leather, etc.
Are Vaccines Vegan?
Since many vaccines contain some ingredients, like gelatin, that are derived from animals, they aren’t considered to be vegan.
Still, since there aren’t many vegan vaccines, it isn’t possible or practical to avoid getting vaccinated, so most vegans do seem to get their families vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Although people argue both ways, you should consider that:
many medicines, like Tamiflu, aren’t vegan, so what happens if you get sick with a vaccine-preventable disease?
many of the ingredients in vaccines that aren’t considered to be vegan are removed in final processing and aren’t present in the final vaccine, except in residual amounts
vaccines save lives, both human lives and animal lives
What’s wrong with animal trials and in vitro studies? They are simply among the weakest type of study you can do. The evidence is considered to be much stronger if you can a meta-analysis or systemic review or a randomized control trial.
So they are left with about a dozen studies that are about vaccines and autism, including:
Seneff – Empirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure – misuses the VAERS database, so the reports of autism are unconfirmed
Deisher – Impact of environmental factors on the prevalence of autistic disorder after 1979 – has a ton of problems with the way it analyzed its data
Nevison – A comparison of temporal trends in United States autism prevalence to trends in suspected environmental factors – tries to correlate autism rates with a list of environmental factors, from maternal obesity, pollution, and glyphosate on foods to aluminum adjuvants in vaccines
Tomlejenovic and Shaw – Do aluminum vaccine adjuvants contribute to the rising prevalence of autism? – “yet another association study. It cannot demonstrate causation,” with tons of other problems
Gallagher and Goodman – Hepatitis B triple series vaccine and developmental disability in US children aged 1–9 years – a small study that used parental surveys, and although the study found higher levels of early intervention or special education services in vaccinated boys than in unvaccinated boys, it found significantly lower levels of early intervention or special education services in vaccinated girls than in unvaccinated girls?!?
Gallagher and Goodman – Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997–2002 – used a “weak experimental design with a tiny sample size,” just 33 autistic kids
Singh – Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain autoantibodies in autism – a poorly done paper with so many problems that it has been labeled “fraudulent” and which found “no significant difference in viral levels in the autistic and non-autistic group (which is the opposite of what you would expect if exposure to the virus caused autism)”
Singh – Abnormal Measles-Mumps-Rubella Antibodies and CNS Autoimmunity in Children with Autism – discredited by severalpapers which found No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells From Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Kawashti – Possible immunological disorders in autism: concomitant autoimmunity and immune tolerance – while trying to link autism to the formation of autoantibodies to casein and gluten antibodies and the immune response to the MMR vaccine, they state that “at this stage, we can conclude that M.M.R. vaccine may not be a cause of autism”
Mumper – Can Awareness of Medical Pathophysiology in Autism Lead to Primary Care Autism Prevention Strategies? – a poorly done “retrospective study with no control group” with a very small sample size
Kawashima – Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism – a study that was done with Andy Wakefield…
Deisher – Epidemiologic and molecular relationship between vaccine manufacture and autism spectrum disorder prevalence – the study talks about residual human fetal DNA fragments in vaccines and that somehow “fetal DNA in these vaccines can recombine with infant DNA to cause autism.” It can’t.
What about any new studies they say supports a link between vaccines and autism?
Are they about vaccines?
Are they about autism?
What kind of study was it?
What journal was it published in? A predatory, pay-to-publish journal with a low impact value or a real, peer-reviewed, medical journal like PLos One, Lancet, JAMA, or Pediatrics?
Although 6 or 7 studies were recently added to their list, most get excluded right off the bat using the above criteria (not about vaccines or autism, animal studies, in vitro studies, etc.). The one that gets included (and has already been retracted)?
Mawson – Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12- year old U.S. children – published at Open Access Text (is that really a journal?) after it was retracted at another journal last year, this survey of homeschoolers is being billed as the “First Peer-Reviewed Study of Vaccinated versus Unvaccinated Children,” which is strange, as this study was done in 2011!
What were you expecting?
Do you really think that you will first read about a real study proving a link between vaccines and autism will be found on an anti-vaccine website or list?
What To Know About Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link
There is still no research supporting a link between vaccines and autism.
More About Research Papers Supporting the Vaccine/Autism Link
Pediatricians do know a lot about vaccines. What they may not know is how to counter every anti-vaccine argument that you might have heard of, read about, or with which one of your family members is scaring you.
“Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
You can rest assured that these arguments have all been debunked, often many years ago, but they keep coming up, over and over again. In fact, today’s anti-vaccine movement uses many of the same themes as folks used when the first vaccines were introduced over one hundred years ago.
In fact, having a severe, life-threatening allergy to a vaccine is one of the main reasons to not get vaccinated.
Specifically, guidelines usually state that you should not get vaccinated:
if you have a severe allergy to any component of the vaccine
if you have had had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
Fortunately, these types of serious allergic reactions are very rare. In fact, most kids with egg allergies can even get a flu shot, something unheard of just a few years ago.
The WHO states that “The rate of anaphylaxis has been documented to be variable, with a rate of 3.5 to 10 per million doses following a measles-containing vaccine.”
Rates of 0.65 to 1.53 cases per million doses have also been reported when including more commonly used vaccines.
Vaccine Allergy Myths
Still, instead of true vaccine allergies leading to problems, it is much more common for misinformation about vaccine allergies to scare parents away from getting their kids vaccinated.
Some of the most common vaccine allergy myths include that:
you can’t get vaccinated if you have a history of a penicillin allergy, cephalosporin allergy, or sulfa drug allergy – you can
you can’t get vaccinated if you have non-vaccine allergies, have relatives with allergies, or are receiving allergy shots – you can
you can’t get vaccinated if you have a latex allergy that is not anaphylactic – you can
you can’t get the MMR vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can
you can’t get the flu vaccine if you have an egg allergy – you can, although your pediatrician will observe your child for 30 minutes if he has a severe egg allergy
vaccines are causing a peanut allergy epidemic – they aren’t and you can get vaccinated if you have a peanut allergy.
And know that vaccines don’t actually cause allergies.
Allergies and Vaccine Components
Components of vaccines can rarely trigger allergic reactions, including:
antibiotics – but these aren’t antibiotics that are commonly used anymore, like Amoxil. Instead, some vaccines contain residual amounts of either gentamicin, neomycin, polymyxin B, or streptomycin. And anyway, the small amounts that could be leftover in the vaccine aren’t known to trigger allergic reactions.
eggs – while your child with an egg allergy can get the flu shot, and then being observed as a precaution, the yellow fever vaccine could still be an issue
gelatin – some vaccines use gelatin, like in Jell-O, as a stabilizer
latex – if your child has a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, you should likely avoid vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex
yeast – although they aren’t thought to be an issue for kids with yeast allergies, a few vaccines can have residual amounts of yeast in them
What about aluminum? Some recent studies, including one in Pediatrics, “Case Report of Subcutaneous Nodules and Sterile Abscesses Due to Delayed Type Hypersensitivity to Aluminum-Containing Vaccines,” do suggest that aluminum can very rarely cause a non-anaphylactic delayed type IV hypersensitivity reaction. These children could have persistent redness and nodules at the site of vaccination for weeks or months when an aluminum containing vaccine is given.
Fortunately, these are mild, non-life-threatening reactions and aren’t a reason to stop vaccinating your child. And, as another study reported, “Unexpected loss of contact allergy to aluminum induced by vaccine,” many of these children outgrow their allergy.
Keep in mind that persistent hard nodules can also be caused by irritation and may not be an allergic reaction at all.
What To Know About Vaccine Allergies
The 2011 IOM report, “Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality,” while concluding that most vaccines, including MMR, varicella, flu, hepatitis B, tetanus, meningococcal, and HPV could cause anaphylaxis, stated that “It appears likely to the committee that the risk of anaphylaxis caused by vaccines is exceedingly low in the general population.”
Do you think that your child has an allergy keeping him from getting vaccinated?
Talk to your pediatrician or a pediatric allergist. They can review the “Algorithm for treatment of patients with hypersensitivity reactions after vaccines,” which “provides a rational and organized approach for the evaluation and treatment of patients with suspected hypersensitivity.”
This is especially important if you think that your child is allergic to all vaccines, something that is almost unheard of, as vaccines have different components and are made in different ways.
Which vaccines do you have to skip if you are allergic to eggs?
Many people are surprised that the answer is that you probably don’t have to skip any vaccines.
Although some vaccines are made in eggs and may contain residual egg proteins, the latest studies show that they can safely be given to kids with egg allergies.
That wasn’t always the case though.
Some pediatricians and parents likely still remember when the recommendation for the MMR vaccine was that:
Persons with a history of anaphylactic reactions (hives, swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty in breathing, hypotension, and shock) following egg ingestion should be vaccinated only with extreme caution.(1989 MMR recommendation)
Of course, now, experts say that “Although measles and mumps components of the vaccine are grown in chick embryo fibroblast tissue culture, allergy to egg is not a contraindication to vaccination.”
Similarly, the warnings and recommendations about egg allergies and flu vaccines have changes over the years. From previous warnings about avoiding the flu vaccine, experts now say that:
Persons with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive flu vaccine.
Persons with a history of a severe egg allergy can still get a flu vaccine, but they should be vaccinated “in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including, but not necessarily limited to hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Vaccine administration should be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions.”
Recommendations about the yellow fever vaccine haven’t changed though. Talk to your pediatrician if your child has an egg allergy and needs the yellow fever vaccine for travel. You will likely need to see an allergist to get vaccinated.
For More Information on Vaccines and Egg Allergies:
“Dry, natural rubber is used in the tip of syringe plungers, the tip on prefilled syringes, vial stoppers,” and could cause a problem for some people with latex allergies.
According to the CDC:
If a person reports a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to latex, vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain natural rubber latex should not be administered unless the benefit of vaccination clearly outweighs the risk for a potential allergic reaction. In these cases, providers should be prepared to treat patients who are having an allergic reaction.
For latex allergies other than anaphylactic allergies (e.g., a history of contact allergy to latex gloves), vaccines supplied in vials or syringes that contain dry, natural rubber or natural rubber latex may be administered.
Many vaccines use synthetic rubber or synthetic latex though, so getting vaccinated with one of these vaccines would be a good alternative if your child has a severe allergy to latex.
Keep in mind that you aren’t supposed to simply remove the latex stopper from a vaccine vial to try and avoid triggering an anaphylactic reaction. That did work for one patient in the case report “Anaphylaxis after hepatitis B vaccination.” She got her second dose using “rubber free technique” and didn’t have a reaction.
Still, latex allergies with vaccines doesn’t seem to be a big problem.
One study “Vaccination of persons allergic to latex: a review of safety data in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),” in the journal Vaccine “revealed only 28 cases of possible immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions in vaccine recipients with a history of allergy to latex.” And only two of those required hospitalization.