A necessary good third COVID-19 the vaccine is being distributed across the United States this week, but the Catholic Church finds itself in a moral dilemma over methods of researching the vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine was recently cleared by the United States for widespread use across the country, giving the country a third vaccine to help prevent viral infections and their spread. The pandemic has ended so many lives and vaccines are in great demand, but the J&J vaccine was born out of research the church has long spoken out against.
“It is so vital, first of all, to receive the vaccine, certainly as an act of charity for our brothers and sisters and an act of charity to put an end to this state of health, to this pandemic”, declared Mgr. Gary Smetanka.
Michigan COVID-19 Vaccines: How to find appointments, information on the phases
While the Archdiocese of Detroit recognizes the need for more vaccines, the J&J vaccine was born out of research dating back to the 1970s that is proving controversial to Catholics.
“Some cell lines from aborted babies have been used and so there is a little more to it with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and less with the one with Prizer and Moderna,” Smetanka said.
Following: Vatican: OK to get virus vaccines using abortion cell lines
As the state receives 80,000 doses of the J&J COVID vaccine, Michigan’s seven Catholic bishops, including Archbishop of Detroit Alan Vigernon, posted a letter this week voicing their concerns about the company’s vaccine, citing their rebuttal of abortion and its link to vaccine research.
You can read the statement in full below.
However, since doses of the coronavirus vaccine remain in high demand and supply is very limited, authorities are encouraging people to get vaccinated when they can, despite concerns about research.
“If no other vaccine is available, definitely take the J&J vaccine,” Smetanka said. “Sometimes we have a choice, often we have no choice.”
Related: Abortion concerns archdiocesan early warning on vaccine
Local 4 reached out to Johnson & Johnson on Friday to get a response to letters of concern that are popping up in dioceses across the country. The company has not responded and we have not found any related statements made by the company in other publications.
Below a statement issued by members of the Michigan Catholic Conference the 3 of March.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
May peace be with you!
As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available, we wish to address the moral questions that have arisen, as some vaccines are developed using cell lines from tissue taken from aborted babies there. decades ago.1 Abortion is a serious evil and we must avoid complicity in abortion. Pray also for peace, healing and God’s mercy for all those who have had abortions.
It is morally permissible to receive vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. None of these vaccines used cell lines from tissue taken from aborted babies in their conception, development and production. However, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both used such a cell line in confirmatory testing. This link with abortion is very remote, however, and it is important to keep in mind that there are different levels of responsibility. A greater moral responsibility lies with researchers than with those who receive the vaccine. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has indicated that it is morally permissible to be vaccinated if there are no alternatives and if there are serious health risks.2 Such serious risks to the health are present due to the current pandemic.
The vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are, however, more morally problematic. They used a cell line from tissue taken from an aborted baby in the design, production, development and confirmatory testing. These vaccines can only be received if there are no other alternatives. If a person does not have a choice of vaccine and a delay in vaccination could have serious consequences for their health and that of others, it would be permissible to accept the Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca vaccine. The two are somewhat similar in production to the rubella vaccine, which the Pontifical Academy of Life says could be received for serious reasons and if there are no other alternatives.
If one chose not to be vaccinated, one would have a moral responsibility to take the necessary precautions to avoid transmitting the disease to others.
At the same time, we join our voices in calling for the development of vaccines unrelated to abortion. Our consciences must not be blunted, and we cannot imply in any way that abortion is acceptable.
Let us implore the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that God puts an end to the pandemic and that all appreciate and respect the dignity of human life.
Michigan Catholic Conference Statement
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