Vegan and the Flu Shot: Update

Check out the 2018 Update!

I am noticing that my flu shot post from last year has gotten really popular recently. We are in midst of flu season, so I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising!

In case you are curious about my situation- I didn’t get a flu shot again this year. As a child, I had been diagnosed with an egg allergy, so I had been avoiding on those grounds. Last year a new egg-free (but not vegan) flu shot became available- except this year, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Not through my employer (I work in healthcare), my primary care doctor, local flu clinics or even the allergist.

Which brings me to the allergy- because of some other sinus problems I’ve been having, I saw an allergist at my primary care’s suggestion. Turns out, I’m no longer allergic to eggs (actually, I have very little in the way of allergies, so I’m still working on the sinus issue). Ergo, I can have the regular flu shot.

Flu Vaccine Technologies

How the regular flu shot is made. Picture from the FDA, used under a US Government Works license.


This brought me to a dilemma: now that I have the option, what do I actually do?

For this year, I decided that because it’s already well into flu season and it takes a bit of time to build immunity after getting the shot, the benefits would not be as clear cut for this flu season. Mind you, flu season typically goes until April, so this is still a decision that individuals can make in January or February.

Interestingly, in New York, where I live and work, a law went into effect this year for health care providers, basically requiring anyone who works in a hospital, nursing home, or most other state-regulated facilities are required to have the flu shot. In the event of a religious/philosophical or medical reason for not getting the shot, the health care provider must wear a mask at all times while on duty where patients might be, except while eating.

This regulation covers an awful lot of health care providers, but for now, doesn’t apply to me. Again, I don’t have to address the issue, but that could always change.

So what should you know about the flu this year?

For more information on the 2013-2014 flu season, check out the CDC’s page.

For now, I’m taking it year by year. I know when next fall rolls around I’ll have another decision to make- and I’m not so sure yet.

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4 Responses to Vegan and the Flu Shot: Update

  1. Sarah Husband says:

    Like you, I didn’t get the flu shot this year. However, am I putting elderly friends and relatives at risk by visiting them even if I’m not sick? Is it possible to carry the flu virus, not feel at all sick, but still transmit it to my friends & relatives? This would definitely influence my decision to get the flu shot in the future. Thanks!

  2. Brian says:

    As far as Flublok not being vegan, I think it depends on why One is a Vegan. For Myself, My reason is to avoid participating, incentivizing, encouraging, rewarding, etc., the killing and/or violence against Living Beings. According to, there is no violation of this particular principle. Now, Someone Else might have a different reason for being Vegan which is still violated by Flublok. However, as the expression goes, One’s “mileage may vary”.

  3. Pingback: Vegan and the Flu Shot: What to do? | The Picky Vegan

  4. Victoria says:

    I had a moral dilemma for my flu shot this morning too. The waiver asked if I’d ever had a reaction to gelatin, so I asked the nurse if the injection contained gelatin. It does. I have a compromised immune system, so more than likely having the shot will only benefit me, but I feel so guilty for knowingly allowing myself to be injected with that. I hate not having another option.