In the midst of the immunization process, social media is host to the moral qualms of vegans around the globe regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.
Namely, although none of the widely available vaccines contain animal-based products, animal testing was a crucial part of their development. Hence, they are not 100% vegan.
Today, the US counts about one million people following a vegan diet — a considerable number that could potentially hinder the effectiveness of mass immunization if they refuse to take the coronavirus vaccines.
Plus, according to 2020 estimates from WTVOX, 1% of the global population is vegan, which is about 79 million people.
Hence, despite the best meal delivery services and snack subscription boxes adapting to a more plant-based diet, vaccines, unfortunately, cannot.
At the moment, vaccine development regulations require animal trials in order to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
Due to the urgency spurred by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, researchers were not required to perform lengthy animal trials for vaccine efficacy before starting human testing. However, this does not mean that they were skipped entirely!
For example, in the development of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, safety trials were performed on mice, and for the subsequent efficacy trials, they used 12 and 24 rhesus monkeys accordingly.
That said, advancements in biotechnology like organoids, and microphysiological systems, are expected to replace some toxicological animal testing in the near future.
From the standpoint of ethical vegans, the use of animals in the development process of vaccines is seen as animal torture. However, by not taking the vaccine, they may be putting their loved ones in danger and at risk of contracting the deadly virus.
So should there be a temporary truce between vegans and vaccines?
The UK Vegan Society, for one, is encouraging all vegans and animal rights fighters to take the vaccine and go over the fact that it has been tested on animals.