Catholics told to pass on J&J COVID-19 vaccine if they have a choice

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    Healthcare professional in protective gloves and workwear holding and organizing a tray of COVID-19 vaccine vials. The professional is carrying out research on COVID-19 vaccine in laboratory. (Getty Images)

    The day after the Federal Drug Administration granted emergency-use authorization to a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, the Archdiocese of New Orleans issued a statement urging Catholics to choose, if they can, the other two available vaccines.

    According to a statement released Sunday morning, the archdiocese instructs 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 statement says that the decision to take that vaccine “remains one of individual conscience in consultation with one’s healthcare provider.”

    Cell lines used in many common vaccines originated from fetuses that were aborted several decades ago.

    There is a difference between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the two that preceded it the statement says. “[T]hough 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.”

    The statement ends: “[W]e 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.”