COVID-19 Vaccines: My Message To Vegans

Vaccines are an exception I can live with. Please hear me out.

Chana Davis, PhD
6 min readJul 23, 2021


Photo by Ivan Diaz on Unsplash

A friend recently asked me to speak with his vegan daughter about her vaccine hesitancy. He knew I was a COVID vaccine advocate, and hoped that she would relate to me as a fellow vegan and respect my opinion as a scientist (PhD genetics).

Over the next few days, my exchange with this vaccine-hesitant young woman helped me clarify my personal vegan philosophy, and articulate the facts behind my decision.

While I can’t tell you what to do, I hope to shed light on why vaccines are an exception I can live with. Pun intended.

Are COVID-19 vaccines vegan?

Whether or not COVID-19 vaccines are vegan depends on how you define veganism. If you define veganism as zero use of animals, or animal products, they are not vegan. If you define veganism as philosophy that excludes animal exploitation “as far as possible and practical”, like the Vegan Society, then the answer is fuzzier.

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose” — Vegan Society

Let’s look at how animals are used in COVID-19 vaccines, and why.

How are animals and animal products used in vaccines?

First, they are tested on animals. This is a mandatory part of safety testing for all vaccines. Second, animal products are always used in vaccine research and development. In some cases — though not mRNA vaccines — animal products are also used in the manufacturing process.

Learn more: See how animal products are used in vaccine research and development from the UK government.

There is a bit of good news, though. When you get jabbed, you are not being inoculated with animal blood or other tissues. COVID-19 vaccines DO NOT contain any animal products. This is a positive step forward, as some vaccines (like many flu vaccines), do contain animal products.

Learn more: See ingredients for COVID-19 vaccines here (page 6) from…



Chana Davis, PhD

Scientist (PhD Genetics @Stanford) * Mother * Passionate about science-based healthy choices * Lifelong learner * Founder: Fueled by Science