Some groups had suggested the coronavirus vaccines were made using cells from aborted fetuses. The cells are actually engineered and grown in labs from tissue acquired many decades ago, and are not made directly from aborted fetuses.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in a note approved by Pope Francis on Monday that receiving the shot was morally permitted.
“It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” the note said.
The statement was issued and signed by the head of the Congregation in response to several requests for guidelines regarding the use of the vaccine.
There have been some disagreements within the clergy regarding the ethics of taking a Covid-19 vaccine because it had used tissue retrieved from two abortions that took place in the last century.
The abortion connection, which had prompted a number of Bishops to voice their opposition to the vaccine, has now been rejected by the Vatican and by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops had already issued a statement earlier in the month stating that the use of Covid-19 vaccines is morally justified.
“Given the urgency of this crisis, the lack of available alternative vaccines, and the fact that the connection between an abortion that occurred decades ago and receiving a vaccine produced today is remote, inoculation with the new COVID-19 vaccines in these circumstances can be morally justified”.
The statement adds that receiving the vaccines do not indicate a cooperation with abortion, and that is not to be considered as an endorsement in any way.
“The licit use of such vaccines does not and should not in any way imply that there is a moral endorsement of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted foetuses”.
The Vatican’s statement is aimed at addressing the moral questions surrounding the vaccine and does not aim to judge the safety or effectiveness.
The statement also called on the governments, pharmaceutical companies, and international organisations to pay extra attention to the equitable distribution of the vaccine to the poorer countries.
“There is also a moral imperative for the pharmaceutical industry, governments and international organizations to ensure that vaccines, which are effective and safe from a medical point of view, as well as ethically acceptable, are also accessible to the poorest countries in a manner that is not costly for them,” it said.