Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the deal with these new vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson?
- Bottom line: Pfizer or Moderna are preferred over AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson. Interested to know why? See our post here.
Do COVID-19 vaccinations have “body parts” from aborted babies?
- This is a question we’ve been receiving recently. The answer is “No,” none of the vaccines contain any physical material taken directly from an aborted baby. Rather, those vaccines with some association with abortion use cells derived from aborted babies. This means specific types of cells from an aborted baby have been cultured (i.e., “grown”) in a laboratory, most since the 1970’s or 1980’s.
- From a physical standpoint, this is different than something like, for example, a bone marrow transplant. In that case, it is the actual cells from the donor that are physically injected into the recipient’s blood stream.
- In the case of COVID-19 vaccines it is, however, true that those cells being grown in culture are morally linked to that aborted baby. It is this fact that is at issue in the discussions currently taking place and is addressed in our statement linked above.
Advocate for Morally Acceptable Vaccine Development
The Holy Father, through the CDF, and our Bishops (along with others) have been clear that while we are able to accept the currently-available COVID-19 vaccines with a clear conscience, we are also obligated to both avoid scandal and advocate for the development of vaccines that are developed in morally acceptable ways. The advocacy can take many forms, including…
- Donating to organizations that are developing such vaccines, including the JP2 Medical Research Institute
- Thanking companies that are developing morally acceptable vaccines including Sanofi Pasture (Human Life Action provides a convenient contact template for Sanofi specifically)
- Urging companies that are almost there to switch to a fully morally acceptable vaccine development process. You can contact Pfizer here and Moderna here.
- Charitably admonishing companies that are not almost there (i.e., developing very morally problematic vaccines) to change course. AstraZeneca is the company closest to getting a severely morally problematic vaccine approved and can be contacted here.
Here are a few resources related to COVID-19 vaccines. We hope you find these useful. If you have additional resources you would like to suggest, or you have any other comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – Note on the morality of using some anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
USCCB’s December 2020 Statement – MORAL CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING THE NEW COVID-19 VACCINES
Charlotte Lozier Institute’s resource – Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – INSTRUCTION DIGNITAS PERSONAE, ON CERTAIN BIOETHICAL QUESTIONS (see esp paragraph 34)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – MORAL REFLECTIONS ON VACCINES PREPARED FROM CELLS DERIVED FROM ABORTED HUMAN FOETUSES
Bishop Athanasius Schneider (et al.) – Covid Vaccines: ‘The Ends Cannot Justify the Means’ [We include this to represent a variety of viewpoints. While we respect Bishop Schneider and his co-signatories, the Guild fully supports the USCCB’s position above in favor of accepting either of the available vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) under the current circumstances.]