All too often I find that I am confronted with the dreadful rhetoric of “but vaccinations have egg in them” or “they’re tested on animals.” Every time, I want to groan with pain as another chunk of my grey matter dissolves from the poison that is spat in my direction, intermittently by non-vegans.
It seems to be the case that when talking to a vegan, people become abolitionists more than I.
Their anti-vaccination arguments sound crazy, and here’s why:
It deeply saddens me that, despite growing evidence showing that animal testing can be less effective, vaccinations are still tested on animals. It also saddens me that they’re cultured in egg; that they can contain gelatine, blood, tallow, and even bone.
However, as horrifying and dreadful as that is, the consequences of the general populous not getting vaccinated are much worse. The effects of plague and disease are not limited to our species, and can transfer to and from our non-human friends. Consider making that a factor in the discussion.
In the last ten years there has allegedly been a drop in people vaccinating themselves and their children. I don’t have children, I am not at liberty to state whether or not I consider this to be tantamount to child abuse, so I won’t. Nevertheless, this could have serious complications and could see the reappearance of diseases that had nearly been wiped out, at least in specific countries. It could also see diseases evolve into something that we have no vaccine for; and could lead to an epidemic.
Let’s talk about Human Papillomavirus (HPV). It’s sexually transmissible, it can lead to cervical cancer, and it’s preventable with vaccination and protection. It goes without saying that HPV isn’t something that anybody wants; unfortunately it is something that a lot of people have. There are vaccines that are 100% effective against four strains of HPV, two of which cause 70% of cervical cancers in women and 90% of HPV related cancers in men [source].
Is there any excuse for not having the vaccine? Well sure, there is personal preference and fear of the potential side-effects (of which not too many are documented). Veganism is, in part, about doing what we can to prevent harm to others. Getting vaccinated is an important tool in our arsenal against disease and can help reduce the harm we do to others and ourselves.
This is always a controversial topic, and one that sparks heated debate. It often devolves into vitriolic name-calling and opinion bashing. An open dialogue among the scientific community, and a civilised conversation, are the best ways to proceed. As a vegan, I’m a believer in moral utilitarianism, and a supporter of scientific advancement. I receive my vaccinations, because it’s the right thing to do.