The Archdiocese posted a statement on its website citing “moral concerns” about the development of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Archdiocese of Indianapolis weighs down the debate over the use of fetal cell lines in coronavirus vaccine development.
In a statement posted on its website this week, the Archdiocese urges people to use vaccines other than those developed by Johnson & Johnson, if possible. The Declaration by the Chairs of the Committees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities addressed the “moral permissibility of the use of vaccines designed, tested and / or manufactured using abortion-derived cell lines” .
Our national VERIFY team investigated the history of vaccine development from fetal cell lines, including vaccines to fight COVID-19.
It starts with fetal cells taken from a pair of aborted fetuses obtained by a Dutch researcher in 1973 and 1985, although the circumstances of the abortions are unknown.
Almost 50 years later, the original cells were reproduced millions of times in laboratories, creating what are known as fetal cell lines. Although they came from an aborted fetus, experts say these are now independent cell lines that can be quickly replicated outside the human body and used by scientists to create viruses.
This is exactly what Johnson & Johnson did to develop its vaccine, which works slightly differently than the currently available Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine injects the adenovirus – a virus of the common cold – into your body.
The genetically modified virus causes your body to make spike proteins. In response to these proteins, your body makes antibodies that can fight COVID-19.
The question many are asking now is whether that shot of a cold virus that got into your arm contains the fetal cell lines it was grown with. Experts say these cells and any remnants of cells are filtered out before the vaccine gets into the vial.
Even so, several Catholic Archdioceses across the country have issued statements urging Catholics not to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if given a choice.
CONNECTED: Read the USCCB statement
The statement by USCCB Chairs, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, encourages Catholics, if given the choice, to choose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The bishops said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine raised “additional moral concerns” because of its design, testing and manufacture.
However, the statement continued when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the only option, the Archdiocese said, “It is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used aborted fetal cell lines in their research and production process. “
“While we should continue to insist that drug companies stop using the 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,” it said the declaration completed.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesman said in a statement earlier this week that they are developing their COVID-19 vaccine to the highest bioethical standards and guidelines and that the vaccine does not contain fetal tissue.
If you’re concerned about how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was made, experts say the fetal cell lines were also used to make the hepatitis A vaccine, as well as vaccines for rubella, chickenpox, and shingles.
Read the Johnson & Johnson statement:
“We are proud to bring our COVID-19 vaccine to the world and to help end this pandemic. We have adhered to the highest bioethical standards and guidelines in developing our vaccine. Our single-shot COVID-19- Vaccine uses an inactivated non-infectious adenovirus vector – similar to a cold virus – that codes for the coronavirus protein “Spike” (S), and the vaccine does not contain fetal tissue. Line system and look forward to having these doses on the around the world and helping to meet critical needs. “