Can Vegans Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Posted on by PETA

As India starts rolling out vaccines across the country, we’re answering your questions about the vaccines, COVID-19, and vegan living.

rats in labs

Are vaccines tested on animals?

Companies that make vaccines and other medicines are required by law to carry out certain tests – some of which involve using animals – before they can market their products.

PETA India and our international affiliates work with government agencies in India and abroad to change these requirements by drawing attention to the scientific failings of tests on animals and promoting the development, use, and acceptance of modern, non–animal tested methods.

Promisingly, various government agencies involved in drug regulations worldwide took progressive steps by notifying us that they are open to discussing abbreviating tests on animals for COVID-19 vaccine development.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m vegan?

The goal of being vegan and advocating for animal rights should always be to bring about positive change for animals. As long as tests on animals are a legal requirement, refusing to take a medicine on ethical grounds will not help animals who have already been used in tests or spare future animals the same fate.

Instead, we need changes to the laws that require animal testing so that animals are no longer required to suffer in tests. You can help effect these changes by speaking out for animals in laboratories and supporting our work. To keep yourself and others as fit and healthy as possible – and allow you to continue advocating for animals – please follow the advice of your health-care provider on taking a medicine.


Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain animal-derived ingredients?

The Serum Institute’s and Bharat Biotech’s vaccines that were recently approved for use in India do not appear to contain any animal-derived ingredients, but it’s possible that future COVID-19 vaccines will. An example of such an ingredient is shark squalene – an oil derived from the livers of sharks – which is sometimes added to vaccines to stimulate an immune response. Bharat Biotech’s collaborator, the National Institute of Virology, got captured monkeys from the forest and tested its vaccine candidate on them.

Is there a link between diseases like COVID-19 and eating meat?

Yes. We can’t ignore the link between eating animals and outbreaks of diseases like COVID-19. Humans’ demand for meat, eggs, and dairy means that huge numbers of animals are reared in intensive confinement inside giant, filthy sheds; crammed into crowded lorries; and slaughtered on killing floors or in markets soaked with blood, urine, and other bodily fluids. These conditions are breeding grounds for new strains of dangerous bacteria and viruses.


How can I help prevent tests on animals?

Support PETA India’s Research Modernisation Deal, our strategy for replacing animals in vaccine development and other biomedical research and regulatory testing. With greater investment in animal-free methods, scientists in India would be able to develop better treatments for human diseases. This would help end the almost unimaginable suffering of millions of mice, rats, dogs, primates, rabbits, fish, and other animals.

Please sign our petition to show your support for PETA India’s Research Modernisation Deal and for ending experiments on animals:

Please sign our petition requesting that equines no longer be used in the production of drugs:

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