A statement regarding the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine
There has been much discussion recently about the Covid-19 vaccines becoming available to the public as a means of bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control. For Catholics in particular there has been much discussion and debate about moral and ethical questions around the development of the vaccines in regards to their use of morally compromised cell lines created from two abortions that occurred, one in the 1970s and one in the 1980s.
The Diocese of Burlington, in light of guidance from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center affirms that though there was some lab testing that utilized the abortion-derived cell line, the two vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna do not rely on cell lines from abortions in the manufacturing process and therefore can be morally acceptable for Catholics as the connection to abortion is extremely remote.
It is under the same guidance that the Diocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.
We maintain that the decision to receive the Covid-19 vaccine remains one of individual conscience in consultation with one’s healthcare provider. We also maintain that in no way does the Church’s position diminish the wrongdoing of those who decided to use cell lines from abortions to make vaccines. In doing so, we advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.