In what comes as a disheartening shock, shark support groups have estimated that around half a million sharks may have to be killed to create a COVID-19 vaccine to immunise all of humanity.

The reason for this is because sharks are usually harvested for a natural oil called squalene which is being used on candidates for possible COVID-19 vaccines. The natural oil is used as an ingredient in many vaccines because it increases the effectiveness of the vaccine and creates a stronger immune response.

About 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one tonne of squalene so if one were to immunise the entire world with one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 250,000 sharks would have to be killed. And if every human requires two doses, half a million sharks would have to die.

“No, we are not trying to slow down or hinder the production of a vaccine. We simply ask that testing of non-animal derived squalene is conducted alongside shark squalene so it can be replaced as soon as possible. At billions of doses needed per year, for decades to come, it is critical that we don’t rely on a wild animal resource,” writes Stefanie Brendl, founder of California-based Shark Allies said in a Facebook caption linked to her petition.