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Veggie vs Vaccine

July 12, 2013

Me, feeding a baby calf, on a recent adventure to a farm.


I don’t know how many people know, but I am a Psychiatric Nurse in my spare time (OK for 37.5 hours of the week when I am not playing with metulz and makeup). Part of this role, exposes me to lots of health risks as I work in an environment where lots of bugs are passed on.

Today I had to attend Occupational Health regarding my immunisation status. I was given an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine when I was a child to protect me like most others. Unfortunately, there was a large population of parents who didn’t vaccinate their children around the 80’s due to fears that it would make their children autistic and as a result there have been a few outbreaks of measles recently throughout this non vaccinated population. Thus panic ensues across healthcare organisations everywhere, and I have to prove my immunity to this!

Now, I’m not sure whether ingredients are common knowledge to people in the production of vaccinations, but as a Vegetarian I hold some very strong morals and beliefs about harming animals unnecessarily. I don’t eat any animal based produce besides milk and free range eggs/cheese – which is more acceptable to me because the animals are either dairy cows or -should- come from free range chickens. They are not butchered unnecessarily for my consumption.

(Before I go on to share with you some horrific news, I want to post some pictures of some cute animals I have recently encountered to get you in the mooood ….)

vegvac2 vegvac3


Alas, it is interesting to know some of the ingredients that are still and have been used in vaccinations:

  • Chicken Embryo (still used in most vaccines)
  •  Pork Gelatin/Hydrolyzed Gelatin
  •  Monkey Kidney
  •  Chicken Kidney
  •  Mouse Brain Culture (used in Japanese vaccines)
  •  Fetal Bovine Serum (I believe this is used in MMR vacines)

Now most of these are self explanatory – although actual kidneys and brains aren’t used, the cells are taken to produce live cultures (to the best of my knowledge anyway). Gelatin is mainly animal by products, and the sheer thought of fetal bovine serum actually sickens me. The process of this involves the collection of blood from the bovine fetus. Or to simplify this, when they take cows to the slaughterhouse, they collect blood from the baby calf inside and allow this blood to clot to use in a serum for vaccines. Now funnily enough, there has been some “ethical” debate/discussion between some people high up there, about whether or not the “bovine embryo/fetus” experiences pain when they are removing this blood from it.

Can you image the uproar involved if you took Ms Smith, a 25 year old woman who was pregnant, to a slaughter house. Whilst killing her with a bolt through the brain, you then proceeded to take blood from her unborn baby to use in a vaccination – and then you proceeded to raise some discussion as to whether said unborn baby experienced any pain during this!

Now I understand that vaccinations are important to prevent some life threatening diseases and of course I would take this into consideration if I too were being put at risk. Working in a very risky environment such as the criminal justice system, where I am around IV drug users and people of poor health who may pass on various infections to me, I have to consider carefully what vaccinations I do need for my own health. In most cases I can justify this – for example, my first hepatitis B course – if I become ill or unwell, not only can I not care for others, but I can also pass illness onto other people who will also then have to go on to use medications that animals have been used for. So in having this vaccine, hopefully I will prevent this.

It turns out that after two courses of Hep B and a booster I still wasn’t immune and as for the MMR I already had that as a child so I presume I have some sort of immunity to that. I had already made the decision before my appointment this afternoon that if my blood results say I am not immune I will not have the MMR due to this. I have to say, the lady I saw (either a nurse of phlebotomist/vampire) was absolutely lovely. She had piercings and slightly zaney hair and she completely supported me, believing that I should stand up for my views and I signed a disclaimer to say this dependent on the results of my test.

I mean in this day and age, are they really unable to produce a vaccination that is animal friendly? Do they really have to use animal by products/animal kidneys or the blood of calves!!! People often frown upon our heavy metal culture and throw ridiculous statements into the mix such as “oh do you worship the devil then and sacrifice goats to Satan whilst dancing around naked?” – perhaps it’s the drug company’s that they should turn to instead of those who are trying to lead a lifestyle that involves being good, kind-hearted people and protecting animals and nature!

Hellbent on saving the animals!

– Pants