Our standard quadrivalent and trivalent vaccines are produced by processes that include culture in embryonated hens’ eggs. Only a trace of egg protein remains in the flu vaccine, but as the egg has been fertilised, some vegetarians and most vegans may object to this.
There is an alternative flu vaccine available that is produced in cell-based culture, of animal origin. Some vegetarians and vegans may therefore choose not to have the cell-based flu vaccine because of the use of animal derived products.
Vaccinations are not compulsory in the UK; we operate a system of informed consent. However, vaccination is recommended because it provides the best protection against flu; a disease which can kill. The Vegetarian Society recommends that those at risk continue to accept medicines they need, including flu vaccination.
If you have religious reasons for avoiding eggs or either of the above, you should take appropriate religious advice.
New recombinant vaccines are increasingly becoming available and do not involve production in animal cells. Please enquire prior to booking your flu vaccine if this option is currently available, as it is in short supply this year.