The Vegetarian Society in England has branded the use of pork gelatine in three vaccines used by their national health system as “disappointing.” (Of interesting note: during Paul Offit’s recent lunch with many anti-vaccine parents in Atlanta, he said he believed gelatin to be the problem with vaccines. We would agree that it’s a problem but not the only problem.)

“Porcine gelatine is derived from pigs and used in vaccines against flu, shingles, measles, mumps and rubella.

Public Health England said the gelatine is used as a stabiliser and developing an alternative ‘may never happen’.(My emphasis)”1

Wondering where gelatin comes from? Check out the video from the Belgian television show, “On Food” below:

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While Public Health England has said the gelatine is “highly purified,”2 “manufactured under strict hygiene and safety regulations”3 and necessary “to keep the vaccine viruses stable”4, its use doesn’t take vegetarians, vegans, or Muslims into account. And if the goal is to vaccinate everyone, they are potentially missing out on a LOT of people.

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If you live in England, the three vaccines that contain porcine gelatine are:

  • Fluenz Tetra – children’s flu nasal spray vaccine
  • MMR VaxPro – measles, mumps and, rubella
  • Zostavax – an adult vaccine for shingles

According to the Muslim Council of Britain, vaccines with gelatin are not permitted in Islam “unless lives are at risk and there are no alternatives”5 and to that end, Dr. Shuja Shafi, the chairman of the council’s research and documentation committee, said:

“There should be more work towards an alternative. We should be trying to find a long-term solution. The needs of the people must be met.”6

Shafi recommended that concerned people consult a medical practitioner so they can make an informed decision. (We always recommend people do their own research as well so they can make informed decisions before they vaccinate.) Interestingly, porcine gelatine isn’t an issue for the Jewish community as the vaccines are not ingested.

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In response to this article, Public Health England noted that there are injectable flu vaccines that do not contain pork gelatine (which they called slightly less effective) as well as a gelatine-free vaccine available for measles, mumps, and rubella.

Again, we recommend you do the research before you allow your family members to be vaccinated.

Sources and References

  1. BBC, October 25, 2018.
  2. BBC, October 25, 2018.
  3. BBC, October 25, 2018.
  4. BBC, October 25, 2018.
  5. BBC, October 25, 2018.
  6. BBC, October 25, 2018.