Johnson & Johnson vaccine raises moral questions for Catholics

Austin

An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson on November 17, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The use of “abortion-derived cell lines” in the recently approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has raised concerns in the Catholic community.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) put out a statement from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, chairman of the USCCB, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the USCCB’s pro-life committee. In the statement, the bishops discuss the moral questions raised by the development and production of the coronavirus vaccines.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses abortion-derived cell lines in its production, while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only used the cells in their testing process. Because of this, Pfizer and Moderna are preferred by the USCCB.

However, the bishops are not discouraging Catholics to get vaccines.

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good,” the USCCB statement said.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of the Diocese of Austin put out a statement in December when concerns about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were initially raised.

“While it is true that there was a tainted cell line used in confirmatory testing,” Vásquez said. “Catholic moralists have determined that any cooperation in the evil of this tainted cell line is so remote, and the good to be gained for society so valuable, that one may take these vaccines in good conscience.”

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