Should Catholics receive a Covid-19 vaccine?

Covid-19 vaccinations are in full swing for health care workers and other at-risk groups in the United States and across the world. Confusion and concern over the safety and morality of the vaccines has caused many to question whether, when they are offered their vaccination, they will receive it or not. For maximum clarity on the issue, we turn to the US Bishops and Church teaching.

First, it’s important to understand the facts. Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid vaccines were developed using mRNA, meaning they do NOT contain cell lines from an aborted baby. AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine does use the cell line from an abortion in 1972. Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines have a remote non-causal connection to that cell line only through the testing phase of production.

The US Bishops released a statement in December about the moral considerations of the vaccines.

“In view of the gravity of the current pandemic and the lack of availability of alternative vaccines, the reasons to accept the new COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are sufficiently serious to justify their use, despite their remote connection to morally compromised cell lines.”

In fact, the bishops went to far as to say that receiving your vaccine ought to be considered “an act of charity toward the other members of our community” and “an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.”

And what if you are offered the AstraZeneca vaccine? The bishops said, “The AstraZeneca vaccine should be avoided if there are alternatives available.” They also noted, “Just as accepting a vaccination for rubella with a morally compromised vaccine is morally permissible because of the lack of alternatives and the serious risk to the public health, so it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Of course, while it is morally acceptable to receive these vaccines for our own wellbeing and the safety of those around us, we should never simply sit back and accept the pharmaceutical companies’ use of these aborted fetal cell lines. The Church urges faithful Catholics to use these vaccines “with a protest.” Contact the Big Pharma companies and demand that completely ethical vaccines be offered in the future—and ask that this cell line never again be involved in the development, testing, or production of their products.

Our Lady of Good Health, Pray for us!

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.