“Given the fact that viable alternative cell lines exist, the decision to do so is a mystery,” said Bishop Robert Brennan in a statement released Monday.
Brennan is one of several Roman Catholic leaders who have spoken out about the new vaccine, which was first marketed in Ohio on March 2.
That day leader of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of the United States (USCCB) published a Explanation The Johnson & Johnson vaccine raises questions about the “moral permissibility” of using vaccines that are “designed, tested and / or manufactured using abortion-derived cell lines.”
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Is “Morally Allowable”
Brennan and the USCCB encouraged people to choose the previous Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, when available, calling them “more morally acceptable”.
“I urge that individuals be allowed to make the right choices based on their beliefs, especially the poor who often don’t get many choices,” Brennan said.
Still, it is “morally permissible” to accept the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when no alternatives are available, “especially given the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus”.
“We encourage people to get vaccinated for their own health, but also for the protection of the wider community,” Brennan said.
National Catholic Leaders Thoughts on the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
The U.S. Bishops Conference like Brennan said it was still acceptable to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when no others were available.
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In the statement by USCCB Chairman Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are described as “ethical,” although so is the Case is, Catholics raised concerns because they were tested on an abortion-derived cell line when they were not produced with one.
The difference, it said, is that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was designed, tested and manufactured using abortion-derived cell lines, which raises “additional moral concerns”.
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“While we should continue to insist that drug companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the global suffering this pandemic is causing, we reaffirm that vaccination can be an act of charity for the common good,” said he made the USCCB statement.
Pope Francis was vaccinated in January.
How it is done
On March 2, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that the vaccine does not contain fetal tissue.
Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is made using a harmless cold virus called adenovirus. The adenovirus is grown using a so-called immortalized cell line, and the virus is then extracted and purified.
There are several types of cell lines made using fetal tissue decades ago that are widely used in medical manufacturing, but the cells in them are now clones of the early cells, not the original tissue.
In December, the Vatican said that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used aborted fetal cell lines” when “ethically sound” vaccines are not available to the public.
Pope Francis has spoken frequently about the need to ensure that vaccines are widely available, especially to the poor and marginalized. And last month, a decree signed by the governor of the Vatican city-state stipulated that Vatican employees who refuse to be vaccinated without a proven medical reason could face sanctions, including dismissal.
Information from the Cincinnati Enquirer and Associated Press was used in this story.