Catholic bishops issue statement on ‘moral permissibility’ of getting Johnson & Johnson vaccine


WASHINGTON (WANE) On Tuesday the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement addressing the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVI-19 vaccine. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese chairs that committee.

The need for clarification about the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has to do with the use of abortion-derived cell lines development, testing and production. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines used abortion-derived cell lines for testing but not production according to the statement.

The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid- 19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.1 However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.

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.”

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

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