The Vatican urged Catholics to get vaccinated against Covid-19 on Monday, explaining that all vaccines developed are “morally acceptable,” including those produced with cells from aborted foetuses.
An announcement published on Monday “on the morality of the use of certain vaccines against Covid-19,” which recalls positions taken by the Church for the past 15 years, aims to respond to specific requests received in recent months.
“It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” said the note, which was approved by the Pope and published Monday by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Catholic Church said that the link between a person getting vaccinated and abortions performed in the last century is “remote.”
Cells from foetuses aborted in the 1960s, 70s and 80s – reproduced in the laboratory for decades as “cell lines” – have been used by many researchers to design vaccines against Covid-19, including the ones developed by Astra Zeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, according to the European Institute of Bioethics.
In several countries around the world, particularly in Latin America, but also in Australia and the United Kingdom, bishops have had debates on the dilemma of “morally ethical” vaccines.
The Vatican also states that “the use of such vaccines does not signify moral approval of abortion” and calls on pharmaceutical companies and government health agencies to “produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience.”
Although vaccination, in general, must remain “voluntary,” the Church emphasised that it is an act for “the common good” and “the protection of the weakest and most exposed,” a position that is clearly opposed to the anti-vaccine movement.
Finally, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith evokes the “moral imperative” of the pharmaceutical industry, governments and international organisations to make vaccines against Covid-19 “accessible even to the poorest countries,” thus echoing an urgent appeal by Pope Francis.