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All three COVID vaccines morally acceptable, says pope, U.S. bishops

A Walgreens health care professional prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTec COVID-19 vaccine in Evanston, Ill., Feb. 22, 2021. (CNS photo/Kamil Krzaczynski, Reuters)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Catholics might soon have a choice as to which coronavirus vaccine they can receive — and they may not.

If given the choice, Catholics are encouraged to choose either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. But if the only one offered to them is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it is morally acceptable for them to take it, and they are encouraged to do so.

These instructions come not only from the Vatican, but also from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The instructions from the USCCB came in a memo on March 2 by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“The [Vatican’s] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available . . . it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production processes’.”

The memo further says: “However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the worldwide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good,” the two bishops said.

The following vaccine-related information can be found online at: archkck.org/prolife/resources/vaccines:

• Moral considerations regarding the new COVID-19 vaccine

• USCCB statements on the COVID-19 vaccine

• Additional resources on COVID-19 vaccines

• Summary of the COVID-19 vaccine candidates

• Take action (downloadable letter to print off and send to vaccine producers)

• The morality of using some vaccines

• Vatican Congregation of the Faith’s “Note”

• Vatican COVID-19 commission statement

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The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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