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More Than Half of U.S. Dog Owners Concerned About Pet Vaccines

girl and her dog

The novel messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 shots, notably Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna/NIAID’s Spikevax biologics, were not he only shots causing millions of Americans to worry and be skeptical about their safety and efficacy over the past three years. A new study published last month in the journal Vaccine found that more than half of dog owners in the United States have concerns about vaccinating their dogs, including for rabies. “A large minority of dog owners consider vaccines administered to dogs to be unsafe (37 percent), ineffective (22 percent) and/or unnecessary (30 percent),” according to the research.1

This is not the first time researchers have taken a closer look at growing vaccine hesitancy among pet owners. In 2021, a study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal found a link between parents who oppose mandatory childhood vaccinations and vaccine-hesitant pet owners.2

Medical Exemptions for Pet Vaccines Limited to Only 16 States

Rabies vaccinations for dogs are required by law in most states in the U.S., but in a small number of states, rabies vaccination is only required for imported animals above a certain age. Unlike human vaccine laws which vary by state and include provisions for medical, religious, and/or philosophical or conscientious belief exemptions, only medical exemptions exist—and only in 16 states—for the rabies shot for pets.3

A medical exemption—which is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as a specific medical condition(s) that is approved by government health officials as a reason to exempt an individual from receiving a vaccination—can be very challenging to secure from a doctor in the U.S.4 The granting of a medical exemption to vaccination from a doctor might only be identified after a severe reaction like anaphylaxis or brain inflammation that causes death or leaves the person with brain or immune system damage.5

Annual Rabies Booster May Be Overkill

Texas dog owner Michael Hays shared concerns with a media outlet in 2020 after his dog developed a serious illness shortly after routine vaccinations. “Charlie” had just received his rabies shot along with other core boosters. “The day after those vaccines, he just started acting a little weird, and then two days later, he couldn’t go up and down the stairs,” Hays said.6

Hays never received a conclusive answer from the vet after several follow-up visits as to the reason for the sharp decline of his dog’s health so quickly after routine vaccinations. Charlie died soon afterward.

Hays said he wished he would have checked his dog’s titers—a blood test that determines whether or not antibodies to protect against disease are still present from previous shots or from natural infection—before moving forward with more boosters, especially after a growing body of research suggests dogs can be protected for 5-7 years or even longer. Charlie had been receiving core vaccines annually, according to media reports, but the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines only recommend core vaccines and boosters “at intervals of every three years or longer.”6 7

“Canine vaccine hesitancy is pervasive,” said Matt Motta, the study’s co-author and political scientist at Boston University’s School of Public Health who studies hesitancy. “What this demonstrates is that COVID fundamentally changed how Americans look at vaccines.”8

Some public health officials suggest the pandemic ushered in an unprecedented level of vaccine skepticism. According to an April analysis conducted by UNICEF, the number of Americans who believe vaccines are important dropped below 80 percent, compared to 93 percent prior to the pandemic. Further, vaccination rates for some diseases have continued to decline during the past two years, according to the CDC.9 10

Only 66 Percent of Pet Owners in U.K. Gave Primary Vaccinations to Their Animals in 2019

Vaccine hesitancy for humans and their pets alike was on the rise globally prior to the pandemic. In 2019, only 66 percent of dog, cat, and rabbit owners in the United Kingdom said their pet had its primary vaccinations when young, compared with 84 percent in 2016, according to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, an annual analysis of overall pet well-being in the U.K.11

Additionally,  a year before declaring a COVID pandemic emergency in early 2020, in January 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) had ranked vaccine hesitancy as one of the top global threats, and even designated the theme of the World Veterinary Association’s 2019 World Veterinary Day to focus on the “Value of Vaccination.”12 13

The COVID pandemic response by public health officials may have heightened public concerns about vaccine safety, effectiveness and necessity, especially after tens of millions of Americans were forced to comply and take an experimental mRNA vaccine in order to keep their jobs, but vaccine hesitancy had begun to increase in the U.S. long before 2020.14 15 16

“We are living in a world where states are considering rolling back vaccine requirements,” Motta said. “What’s to say pets aren’t the next frontier?”8 17


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Click here to view References:

1 Motta M, Motta G, Stecula D. Sick as a dog? The prevalence, politicization, and health policy consequences of canine vaccine hesitancy (CVH). Vaccine 2023.
2 Kogan, L. R., Hellyer, P. W., & Rishniw, M. (2021). American and Canadian veterinarians’ perceptions on dog and cat core vaccination rates and the impact of the human medicine anti-vaxx movement on veterinary medicine. Canadian Veterinary Journal 62(3): 247-252.
3 Animal Law Info. Rabies Vaccination and Exemption Laws for Dogs. Animal Law Info.
4 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP: Contraindications and Precautions. Aug. 1, 2023.
5 Health Resources Services Administration. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Data & Statistics. Sept. 1, 2023.
6 DeLeon G. Over-vaccinating pets can lead to serious injury. KFox14 Feb. 17, 2020.
7 Dodds W.J, Larson L.J, Christine KL, Schultz RD. Duration of immunity after rabies vaccination in dogs: The Rabies Challenge Fund research study. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 2020; 84(2): 153-158.
8
Brown K. More Dog Owners Are Questioning Vaccines Like Rabies After Covid. Bloomberg Business Aug. 28, 2023.
9 UNICEF 2023. The State of the World’s Children 2023: Executive Summary.
10 Seither R, Calhoun K, Yusuf OB et al. Vaccination Coverage with Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates Among Children in Kindergarten. MMWR 2023; 72:26–32.
11 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vaccine Hesitancy. Mar. 1, 2020.
12 World Health Organization. Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019. Jan. 16, 2019.
13 Veterinary Practice News. 2019 World Veterinary Day highlights the value of vaccines. Mar. 12, 2019.
14 Edwards KM, Hackell JM. Countering Vaccine Hesitancy. Pediatrics 2016; 138(3).
15 NVIC Advocacy Team. Vaccine Exemptions Under Attack in 2019. National Vaccine Information Center Sept. 25 2019.
16 NVIC. NVIC’s 2021 Annual Report on State Vaccine Legislation. Sept. 20 2021.
17  Larson K. Montana Considers New Wave of Legislation to Loosen Vaccination Rules. Kaiser Family Foundation Health News Mar. 10, 2023.

13 Responses

  1. Yes, unlike with humans, pushing mandatory pet vaccines without any ability to opt out has been a pervasive lobbying point from big pharmasuetical companies for many decades now. From city to city, county to county, mandates with associated possible penalty and liability for pet owners vary wildly. In Colorado we have yearly rabies requirements and then some counties impose more erroneous other vaccine requirements over and above. Phizers ongoing marketing strategy; Force Them. More creeping socialism, as taxpayer monies often go to pet vaccination drives, causing the rather expensive products to be free to the end point consumers during many times a year events. Special bonus to condition the people to perceive constantly devoting time and energy to this pointless barbaric procedure as being necessary and appealing.

    1. It is barbaric indeed. I’ve had 3 Newfoundland dogs over the last 30 years. My first dog went lame at age 6 and had to be put down. The second Newf developed an osteosarcoma on her leg where she was vaccinated. She also passed at the age of 6. My third Newf lived to be 12, which was 2 years beyond his life expectancy. The difference was my last dog was unvaccinated. I found a holistic vet to work with us who didn’t push shots all the time. My first two dogs got multiple shots every year. There’s your vaxxed vs. unvaxxed study right there. If I get another dog, I’ll immunize them with homeopathic nosodes.

  2. We should be extremely concerned about ALL vaccines. Dr. Ana Mihalcea continues to discover self assembling nano-particles not only in mRNA substances but in childhood vaccines like the MMR injection.

  3. If rabies was so lethal, wouldn’t the entire unvaccinated wild animal population be dead by now? Seems like Dr Grifter is perpetrating yet another medical/pharmaceutical scam.

  4. We got a 5 year old 10 lb Bichon/toy poodle mix from a shelter in 2009. They gave him one year vaccines and the following year he went to the vet and got some 3 year vaccines. That night he had his first seizure. They got worse as time went on and he was prescribed phenobarbitol which he took till last October when we had to put him to sleep. One vet told us he got epilepsy which just happened on the night of his first seizure. Another one told us his brain was overstimulated from the vaccines and he told us since he wasn’t exposed to other dogs he didn’t need any more vaccines. At the time it happened I started doing research on vaccines and if I knew when my kids were born in the mid 70s what I know today I never would have gotten them any.

  5. It is a fact that animal vaccines can cause cancer which is why they are given in the leg. The leg can be amputated.
    I had a rescue cat who may have had previous rabies vaccines. After a rabies booster, she became aggressive, hissing and spitting and way overreacting if someone came to my door. She wasn’t aggressive with me and never bit anyone, but it was a nightmare taking her to the vet and that shot ruined her life. I will never do shots again.
    My cats live inside. They are not at risk for rabies.

  6. As a pet care professional for over 50 years, I’ve been aware of the growing influence of privately funded studies on vaccine efficacy and the expanding veterinary professional consensus on focusing on core vaccines followed up by periodic titering. The AHVMA – American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s guidelines, a proliferation of very knowledgeable vets’ online presence, international experts weighing in on optimal vaccine strategies – and the absence of a CDC with government-mandates – has meant a very different scenario for pet vaccinations. I think it would be well to stop using the term “vaccine hesitancy” and vaccine hesitant, both for pets and people, and instead speak of and refer to the “immunity educated.”
    Medicine – and to a lesser extent, veterinary medicine – is being transformed from professional status to that of an industry, even self-defining as a “health care industry.” This is an opportunity to bring up the stark difference between the priorities of corporations/industries and those of professions. It would be very illuminating to contrast what has been learned in the last 20 years by veterinary immunologists like Dr Ronald Schultz and Dr Jean Dodds, and the resulting immunization strategies informed by their work, with the comparable CDC/government strategies for humans. On both sides there are important gaps in the data that can be analyzed. But this is an important contrasting point of view, grounded in science and with capable professionals on each side who can articulate them. Simple anecdotal evidence by parents of vaccine-injured kids has been easily swept aside by the proponents of the CDC/government position. I’m not disparaging the importance of these experience based protests – they have led to the gains in sane immunization policies in vet med, such as they are (and they are not upheld by vets without risk.) But “anti-vaxxers” and “vaccine hesitant” descriptors have been easily used to dismiss as unscientific, and as evidence of a wrong-headed antagonism between individual freedom and public health. Let’s change the terms and before vet med gets too overcome by corporate/industrial priorities, let’s stop using these self-defeating terms and insist on a meta-scientific approach.

  7. Dr. Sherri TenpIenny studied vaccines for 22+ yrs, reading everything written on them. She learned that there is NO study or proof that any vaccine is safe or harmless. Some studies involved as little as 7 people and lasted for less than 2 weeks. If this is what they’ve done for humans, dare you trust that they’ve done better for animals? The NWO (new world order) cabal is really who pharma is. They are satanic and their goal is to kill, destroy and harm all of God’s creatures. Rabies has been proven curable both by the IV form of Vit. C and by herbs. Juliette de Bairacli Levy published a book entitled “Three Dog Viruses” which tells how she cured rabies, parvo and distemper using herbs. Years ago, that book was only sold on Amazon for $950 and found in only 1 library in Europe. Today, you won’t find it. Why hide this vital info? B/c when there are cures available, pharma cannot produce vaccines that can then be forced upon us. They have committed fraud upon the entire world. And lawfully, fraud nullifies everything. For the USA, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are our true laws and those prove that we have the God-given right to chose or reject what is done to ourselves, our family, our property (animals are considered property under the law). I’ve owned dogs and other animals my entire life and have seen the horrible damages and death that vaccines cause. I stopped all shots, pharma, pet foods, toxins long ago. The results were amazing. Not only much better health but intelligence as well and a much longer life – 20 yrs. for our latest sm. dog, and no chronic diseases. I believe that pharma will soon be destroyed as the full truth about them and what they’ve done becomes known. Learn the facts/truth, know your rights and follow your heart to do what is right, as God intended.

  8. My Bengal was injured during one of her visits and I questioned the vet about the amount she was being given. She is now 4 and looks like a kitten. Bengals are supposed to be much larger

  9. I fully agree that you should question pet vaccines. I had a 17 year old Siamese, only vaccines he received was his first vaccines. over the years I have learned a lot about food, flea treatments,vaccines and cat litters. I now have two stray cats that I have inherited. they have been fixed and their first shots only. I use an herbal flea treatment, freeze dried raw food, and Breeze cat litter. they are now 7 years old, indoors only, healthy, their eyes are bright and their coats are amazing. I do not vaccinate my animals. Like someone else mentioned, I wish I knew about vaccines damage when my son was younger, I would not have vaccinated him. I saw over the years how anxious he became as he aged and was vaccinated.

  10. I haven’t vaccinated my dogs since the 80’s when a relative who worked in one of the major labs developing animal vaccines told me the truth of their research…death and destruction. None of the scientists there vaccinated their animals, kids or themselves as they well knew the dangers. Interesting my unvaccinated dogs live long, healthy lives well into their teens. Never sick. No vet bills ever.

  11. The rabies vaccine is poison. I destroyed two dogs with that
    One developed hemolytic anemia and the other a thyroid disorder leading to cancer. THEU SHOULD NE ILLEGAL

  12. Thank you Vaccine Reactions for Putting this information out for Pet owners / people to read. And Thank you all for all your Comments that were needed to confirm how deadly Animals Vaccines can be. People in my Mobile home Park are told their Cats must be Vaccinated…….even though it is Mandatory Cats have to stay indoors. Too many have gotten sick from the Vaccines…….but Vets tell them – they got sick from “something else”. Breaks my heart! My 2 cats are indoors……but I built an outdoor Screened In Patio for them…….they love it. I hope all will find Alternative Vets to deal with.

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