Catholics can accept Covid vaccine which uses aborted foetal cells, Irish bishops say

ireland
Catholics Can Accept Covid Vaccine Which Uses Aborted Foetal Cells, Irish Bishops Say
The church encouraged Catholics to support a programme of vaccination for the common good of humanity. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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It is “morally permissible” for Catholics to accept a Covid-19 vaccination which involves the use of cell lines derived from aborted foetuses, the Irish Catholic Church has said.

The Catholic Church traditionally teaches that it is unethical to use stem cells derived from aborted fetuses in medical research.

However, in a statement on Wednesday seen by The Irish Times, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said Catholics could accept vaccines using these stem-cells if a more “ethically acceptable” alternative is not available.

“Questions have arisen that human foetal cell-lines, which have their origins in abortions carried out in the past, are used in the development and production of some of the vaccines for Covid-19,” the statement said.

“If a more ethically acceptable alternative is not readily available to them, it is morally permissible for Catholics to accept a vaccine which involves the use of foetal cell-lines, especially if the potential risk to life or health is significant, as in the case of a pandemic.”

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The church reaffirmed its “consistent teaching ... that abortion is always gravely immoral”.

The church also noted that many of the vaccines currently in development “do not depend for their design or production on foetal cell lines”.

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The church encouraged Catholics to support a programme of vaccination, not only for their own good, but for the common good of humanity.

Cells derived from elective abortions have been used since the 1960s to manufacture vaccines, including current vaccines against rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis A, and shingles.

Posts circulated on social media last month that the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine contains aborted foetus cells, prompting concerns that members of the public would object to the vaccine on moral grounds.

AstraZeneca has said its vaccine uses a cell strain taken from a female foetus aborted in the 1970s. However, the company said the cells are used to propagate the virus for the vaccine but these cells do not make it into the final jab.

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