ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Archdiocese of St. Louis has issued a statement after the FDA authorized the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. They are encouraging Catholics to examine the moral and ethical concerns because of the cell-lines used to produce the medicine. Church leaders say that all Catholics should try to get a vaccine if possible.
Some Catholics and other believers have expressed faith-based concerns about vaccines because some of the ones available were indirectly connected to research that used aborted fetal cells. The Vatican’s doctrine office has judged it morally acceptable for Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines, including those that relied on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses.
“Much like the AstraZeneca vaccine, a cell line derived from an aborted child seems to have been used in the development and production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, making it morally compromised. In regards to the AstraZeneca vaccine, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities says the “vaccine should be avoided if there are alternatives (like Pfizer or Moderna) available.” This applies to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well,” a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
This should not prevent Catholics from getting vaccinated even if they are only offered the choice of the Johnson & Johnson inoculation.
“As the bishops of Missouri have previously stated, Catholics may in good conscience utilize vaccines, even those derived in an unethical manner, in order to protect themselves, as well as to avoid the serious risk to vulnerable persons and to society as a whole resulting from remaining unvaccinated,” a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
The Vatican is taking Pope Francis’ pro-vaccine stance very seriously: Any Vatican employee who refuses to get a coronavirus shot without a valid medical reason risks being fired.
A Feb. 8 decree signed by the governor of the Vatican city-state says that employees who opt out of vaccination without a proven medical reason could be subject to a sanction up to and including “the interruption of the relationship of employment.”