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to think that some vaccines should carry a 'Not Suitable For Vegetarians/Vegans' label?

(84 Posts)
Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 13:50:47

Having read the information on the Prevenar 13 pneumonia patient advice leaflet I was shocked to see that there is no mention of its suitablility for vegetarians/vegans. This vaccine is given to babies, young children from 6 weeks to 5 years and to adults over the age of 50.
According to the patient advice leaflet on this particular vaccine there is no actual list of ingredients other than a mention that the vaccine includes exposure to Bovine derived material and that no evidence exists that any case of vCJD (human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy) has resulted from the administration of any vaccine product.
Of course joe public would not have the faintest idea where the bovine material is sourced from or even if it has been tested for bse, but clearly there is some cause of concern otherwise why do they mention this on the leaflet?
My worry is that there is insufficient labelling to warn people that some vaccines are not suitable for vegetarians, am I being unreasonable? We have the 'Vegetarian label symbol on food packaging but not vaccine packaging, Why?

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 13:55:56

Because a vaccine is a medicine not a food. If you refuse vaccination because it's not "vegetarian" then you're a total numpty IMO.

CailinDana Sat 10-Nov-12 13:56:15

Oh and don't look up how the tetanus vaccine is derived.

sparkle12mar08 Sat 10-Nov-12 13:58:31

Ah, it's you again...

It will have come from BSE free herds, there are very strict regulations about it.

AnnaLiza Sat 10-Nov-12 14:00:06

You're being precious and OTT.
Have my first ever biscuit

Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 14:03:06

thanks CailinDana I did not know that medicines were exempt from vegetarian labelling. I am sure many vegetarians/vegans have no idea about this either.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 10-Nov-12 14:03:08

Would you refuse a blood transfusion because it is an animal (albeit human) product?

Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 14:04:52

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimesGoes, I hope you are right, I find it odd though that there is a mention of vCJD in the patient leaflet if this is the case. They could put derived from BSE free herds?

Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 14:06:30

OpheliasWW, I would hope that the blood had been filtered first to avoid any transmission.

Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 14:09:57

supposing you had an allergy to the bovine derived material, labelling would be helpful surely?

TidyDancer Sat 10-Nov-12 14:12:18

It couldn't hurt for companies to be open about this kind of thing, so YANBU.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 10-Nov-12 14:12:55

Surely if you are vegan or vegitarian, you expect to do your own work in figuring out what you can eat? It's really nice that labels on food give you a lot of idea - should we also be putting big signs on leather shoes pointing out they come from animal skin?

Masses of medicines use piggy products. I know cos it was on QI recently. But if I were vegan/veggie and cared, I would expect to do my own research.

We are very fortunate to have good access to medical care in this country - so, no, I don't want more money wasted on labelling for people who won't check for themselves.

HappySeven Sat 10-Nov-12 14:13:25

You are generally asked about allergies before anything is administered. And filtering blood, are you serious?

HappySeven Sat 10-Nov-12 14:14:15

Did you know that washing powder isn't vegetarian? Does it worry you that it doesn't say?

ChunkyPickle Sat 10-Nov-12 14:14:34

Not sure that you can filter prions out - I think they're pretty near impossible to kill...

They put it that way because that's a correct, technical way of putting it - it's giving you information that is relevant. Saying that the material came from BSE-free herds doesn't convey the same message as saying that they've not been able to prove any link between this and CJD in humans. ie. it's precise, not airy-fairy.

GobblersSparklyExplodingKnob Sat 10-Nov-12 14:24:59

Oh wow, how coud this have been anyone but you?

Kudos for finding a slighty different angle though, impressive. Didn't think there could possibly be any left.

Please get yourself a hobby or some help, you'd be so much happier

The patient information leaflet lists all the ingredients, if you have allergies or dietary requirements you can check this. You can google them with "name of medicine PIL". The one you have is probably less detailed.

I would imagine that if it contained any of the common allergens, eg egg, soya, penicillin, lactose, the leaflet would highlight these.

Also, being in contact with something during processing is different to containing it, it's up to you as a vegetarian how far you want to pursue avoidance.

Beaaware Sat 10-Nov-12 14:25:59

ChunkyPickle, Yes it is perfectly possible to filter prions out, I cannot understand why this is not routine practice, the filter is called the P Capt filter it was going to be introduced by the DOH only on people under the age of 16.

MousyMouse Sat 10-Nov-12 14:26:27

yabu and silly
vaccines and medicines prevent or help with illnesses. the benefits outweigh the risk (or the vaccine/medicine would not be allowed on the market). often it is just not possible to manufacture medicines without using animal material.
even everyday meds like paracetamol contain animal materials in the dyes used, for example or beeswax coating of tablets.

TessOfTheBaublevilles Sat 10-Nov-12 14:28:08

LRD - it isn't as simple as to say vegans and vegetarians should expect to do their own work figuring out what they can and can't eat.

On the face of it, something might appear vegetarian if you read the ingredients, say for example a macaroni and cheese, but the cheese that has been used might be non-vegetarian cheese (i.e. made using animal rennet).

Whey is another example, it can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and most ingredient lists don't specify which. That's why we need the "green V" signs or the packaging to say 'suitable for vegetarians'.

I don't need signs on leather shoes and goods, I know where leather comes from, but I do need symbols on food.

As for the vaccines issue, my motto is, grin and bear it. I accept that at the moment, there isn't much alternative, and I have to put my health and that of my children first.

exexpat Sat 10-Nov-12 14:32:24

FWIW, I don't think this is really about the suitability of vaccines for vegetarians. The OP has a long history of posting on MN with her anxieties/obsessions over BSE.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 10-Nov-12 14:32:28

Why isn't it simple?

I know cheese uses rennet, it seems like a basic piece of info. I'm not veggie, just have basic knowledge of what's in what. If I had a specific diet, I would expect to do some checking up. And food has labels, which is convenient, to help on this. Clothing and vaccines do not. A line has to be drawn somewhere IMO - I don't want to see the NHS have to spend out on labelling products.

Arthurfowlersallotment Sat 10-Nov-12 14:32:34

OP, why are all your posts about mad cow disease?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 10-Nov-12 14:42:11

I can't see why it matters. If you are bothered about what's in a vaccine, find out before you have it. I don't think it's the job of the NHS to pay more for vaccines that could end up more expensive because of extra labelling, the fact that it might make some people not have the vaccine, or because people will expect a vegan version to be made.

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