Moral Considerations Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines

Should Catholics receive Covid-19 vaccines connected to aborted fetal cells? 

  The answer to the above question was provided to Connecticut Catholics in a statement from the state’s Catholic Bishops on March 4, 2021, as potential vaccines began to be distributed. A time when people would spend days trying to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccination shot. This statement was in line with similar guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican. The simple answer is “yes”. However, the Church still calls upon scientists to make every effort to create vaccines that do not use aborted cell lines.

        Statement by Connecticut Catholic Bishops

   “People should feel free in good conscience to receive any of the vaccines currently available (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) for the sake of their own health and the common good, which requires the prompt vaccination of as many people as possible. This guidance is in accord with what has been stated by both the U.S. Conference of Bishops and the Holy See in Rome. At the same time the Church continues to advocate for the creation of vaccines that do not rely on cell lines derived, even remotely, from abortion”.

  Although the availability of various vaccines has improved in our state, the guidance given by the Connecticut Catholic Bishops, in accord with the Holy See, still stands. What has changed, in some circumstances, is the ability of a person to select what brand of vaccine they receive. Catholics can send a message to drug providers through the selection of a vaccine that does not contain aborted cell lines and that these cells should not be used in the production of vaccines and other medications. To assist Catholics in making a proper chose, the National Catholic Bioethics Center has examined the most common vaccines being distributed and rated them in terms of compliance with Catholic moral and ethical teachings. The four most common are shown below.

Vaccine Ethical Profile Reason
Pfizer/BioNTech Good Cells used in testing, but not production/development
Moderna Good Cells used in testing, but not production/development
AstraZeneca Very Poor  Cells used in testing, development and production
Johnson & Johnson Very Poor  Cells used in testing, development and production

To read more detailed information from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and other sources on this issue click on the links below.

Must Catholics Refuse a Covid-19 Vaccine made with a Cell Line From Abortion – National Catholic Bioethics Center 

  Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines

Answer to Key Ethical Questions on COVID-19 Vaccines