New Orleans Archdiocese Discourages Catholics From Getting the “Morally Compromised” J&J Vaccine

Source: “Archdiocese of New Orleans” by anthonyturducken is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Archdiocese of New Orleans recently released a statement labeling the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine “morally compromised.” They discouraged Catholics from getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, advising them to instead get the previously released Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. 

The church’s statement explained that, under guidance from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center they have determined that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are “morally acceptable for Catholics” because their “connection to abortion is extremely remote.” 

Although Pfizer and Moderna used cell lines from 2 abortions for testing, they did not rely on them in the manufacturing process which is why the church deemed them acceptable.

However, under the same guidance, “the archdiocese 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.” 

The cell line they are referencing came from 2 abortions, one in 1972, which has been widely used in medical research, and one in 1985, from an 18-week-old fetus that’s used solely by Johnson & Johnson. 

Cells derived from abortions have been used since the 1960s to manufacture vaccines, including current vaccines against chickenpox, hepatitis A, rubella, and shingles. They also have been used to make drugs that treat diseases like hemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis. These vaccines and treatments have saved lives, yet, pro-life advocates shun them. 

In December the Vatican announced that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses” in the research and production process when “ethically irreproachable” vaccines aren’t available to the public. However, it clarified that it did not endorse the use of those cell lines. 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans finished their statement with the declaration, “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.”

Louisiana is preparing to accept shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week. Health leaders have praised the vaccine, labeling it a necessary accelerator that will enable the US to reach herd immunity by the summer, ending a pandemic that has caused over 500,000 American deaths. 

Health officials have warned people not to weigh vaccines against each other since this could be harmful to the effort to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. In encouraging Catholics to not get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the Archdiocese of New Orleans risks slowing the New Orleans vaccine roll-out, which could lead to more COVID-19 deaths.

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