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Vegan Flu Vaccines?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

What is Influenza?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. Infection can cause mild to moderate symptoms and death in some cases. This virus resides in bodily fluids (saliva and mucus), the nose, the throat, and the lungs. Influenza virus types A and B are common causes of infections during the flu season.

When is Flu Season?

Influenza viruses can be detected year-round in the United States and the exact time and duration of the flu season vary each year, but the flu season often begins around October, peaks from December to February, and lasts until May. Flu season occurs during colder months due to colder and drier air drying mucus membranes, decreasing the body's defense against respiratory infections when folks are indoors often.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of the Flu?

Common Signs and Symptoms of the Flu

Who is at Higher Risk of Flu Complications?

  • Adults 65 and older

  • Children 5 years and younger

  • Adults with chronic conditions such as:

    • Asthma

    • Heart Disease & Stroke

    • Diabetes

    • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Pregnant women

  • People with Disabilities

  • Cancer patients

  • Patients with HIV/AIDS

Incidence and Prevalence of the Flu:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu was associated with an estimated 9 million illnesses, 4 million medical visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths from 2021-2022.

Transmission of the Flu:

Influenza spreads from person to person through droplets produced while coughing, sneezing, and talking. Influenza viruses can also be transmitted by touching contaminated objects and surfaces. The viruses, depending on temperature and humidity, can live up to 1-2 days on hard surfaces compared to 8-12 hours on porous surfaces like clothing.

How to Prevent the Flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • If you are sick, limit close contact with others

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Wash hands with soap and water

  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects touched often

  • Annual flu vaccine

What are the Flu Vaccine Options?

There are a variety of flu vaccines available (given once a year) that protect against the most common influenza viruses during the flu season. For people younger than 65 years of age, there are inactivated, recombinant, and live attenuated influenza vaccine options with similar efficacy. People 65 years and older are recommended to receive either Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent Recombinant vaccine, or Fluad Quadrivalent Adjuvanted vaccine.

All flu vaccines for the 2022-2023 season are quadrivalent, made to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. However, based on our research, there are currently no animal-free flu shots available.

Available Flu Vaccines

Trade Name


Animal-Free (Yes/No)

Vaccine Type


Dose & Age Indication

​Afluria Quadrivalent



(Egg proteins)

​IIV4 Standard-dose, egg-based


  • ​0.25 ml: 6-35 month

  • 0.5 ml: 3 years and older

​Fluarix Quadrivalent



(Egg proteins)

IIV4 Standard-dose, egg-based


0.5 ml: 6 months and older

​FluLaval Quadrivalent



(Egg proteins)

IIV4 Standard-dose, egg-based


0.5 ml: 6 months and older

​Fluzone Quadrivalent

​Sanofi Pasteur


(Egg proteins)

IIV4 Standard-dose, egg-based


  • 0.5 ml prefilled syringe: 6 months and older

  • 0.5 ml single dose vial: 6 months and older

  • 0.5 ml multidose vial: 6 months and older

​Flucelvax Quadrivalent



(Madin Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells)

​IIV4 Standard-dose, cell culture-based


  • 0.5 ml prefilled syringe: 6 months and older

  • 0.5 ml multidose vial: 6 months and older

​Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent

​Sanofi Pasteur


(Egg proteins)​

IIV4 High-dose, egg-based


0.7 ml prefilled syringe: 65 years and older

Fluad Quadrivalent



(Egg proteins)​

​Standard-dose, egg-based with MF59 adjuvant


0.5 ml prefilled syringe: 65 years and older

​Flublok Quadrivalent

​Sanofi Pasteur


(Insect cell line)

​RIV4 Recombinant HA


0.5 ml prefilled syringe: 18 years and older

​FluMist Quadrivalent



(Egg proteins, Gelatin)​

​LAIV4 egg-based


0.2 ml prefilled single-use intranasal spray: 2-49 years

Flu Vaccine Side Effects

Common side effects that may occur after receiving a flu shot include soreness, redness, swelling, headache, fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. Side effects are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Who should be vaccinated?

    1. Ages 6 months and older are recommended to receive an influenza vaccine every season.

  2. Who should not be vaccinated?

    1. Factors determining a person’s suitability for vaccination include age, health condition(s), and allergies to the vaccine or its ingredients.

    2. Children younger than 6 months of age are too young to receive a vaccination.

    3. People who have severe allergic reactions to flu vaccines.

  3. Should pregnant women get vaccinated?

    1. Yes, all pregnant women are recommended to get a nonlive attenuated vaccine as they are safe for the fetus, protects the mother, and will protect the baby in the first few months after birth.

  4. When should I get vaccinated?

    1. September and October are currently ideal months to be vaccinated.

  5. Where can I get a flu vaccine?

    1. Visit to locate a vaccination center near you.

    2. The flu vaccine is offered at:

      1. Almost all doctors’ offices and clinics

      2. Pharmacies

      3. Health departments

      4. Urgent care clinics

      5. Some schools and workplaces

  6. Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?

    1. The flu vaccine is recommended annually due to the virus rapidly changing and individuals' waning immunity against the virus over time.

  7. Does the flu vaccine work right away?

    1. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to develop antibodies in the body and provide protection.

2 Additional Treatment Options and Immune Support:

1. Flu Antiviral Drugs

Antiviral drugs are an option to treat an infection if started within one to two days of the onset of flu symptoms. We at VeganMed are happy to share there are 3 verified animal-free medications for flu treatment!

FDA-Approved Antiviral Medications

2. Vitamin C and Zinc Supplements

Vitamin C and zinc supplements have shown to be effective when initiated within 24 hours of flu symptom onset and continued for at least 5 days or until symptoms disappear.

Animal-free Vitamin C and Zinc options from the VeganMed marketplace:


Influenza can lead to serious complications and worsen pre-existing health conditions. Flu vaccines are a great way to prevent infection and spread. Flu vaccines are safe and have been proven to protect against the most likely annual strains of the influenza virus. Although no verified animal-free flu vaccines are available, there are verified animal-free treatment options.

Co-authored by: Sania Waheed


Disclaimer: The product and/or information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product.


Looking for certified and verified animal-free products?

Thank you for your awareness and concern for animal-derived ingredients!

If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!

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