Information Regarding Degrees Of Responsibility Of Vaccine Usage

We are so fortunate to be able to rely on the Catholic Church for authoritative guidance concerning the moral use of vaccines to protect against COVID-19.

Questions are not new concerning vaccines that have used aborted fetal cell lines in their development, or ancillary testing (effectiveness, safety, etc.). Even though such abortions occurred decades ago, that does not justify the violation of the dignity of the fetus in the name of medical research.

Catholic schools have relied on the guidance of the Church to address concerns in their vaccination requirements for students: e.g., there are no moral alternatives in the United States for rubella vaccine (contained in the MMR vaccine), as well as chicken pox and Hepatitis A vaccines. Such guidance has been provided by the Pontifical Academy for Life, and most importantly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Dignitas Personae. Specifically, Dignitas personae, while clearly addressing the duty of researchers to refuse to use such cell lines, and explaining the degrees of their responsibility, it also provides guidance for the use of such vaccines. It states:

“Of course, within this general picture there exist differing degrees of responsibility. Grave reasons may be morally proportionate to justify the use of such ‘biological material’. Thus, for example, danger to the health of children could permit parents to use a vaccine which was developed using cell lines of illicit origin, while keeping in mind that everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system make other types of vaccines available. Moreover, in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision.”

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