Two pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, seem well on their way to receiving federal approval for their respective COVID-19 vaccines. This is certainly welcome news. However, Catholics and other pro-lifers have rightly been concerned about whether or not aborted fetal cell lines were used in the production of these vaccines. Their concern is to avoid sinfully cooperating in a grave moral evil.
The good news in this regard is that cell lines from aborted babies were not used in the production process by either company. However, aborted fetal cells were utilized by both Pfizer and Moderna in the initial animal testing phase. This doesn’t mean that Catholics are forbidden to receive these vaccines. They may in good conscience receive them, if they so choose. But every Catholic who does receive one of these vaccines should make it a point to register a respectful complaint with the appropriate pharmaceutical company. As Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, put it in a column that was published in the Rhode Island Catholic two weeks ago: “The Vatican emphasizes that when we receive vaccines manufactured in this way, we should take steps to register our disagreement and call on pharmaceutical companies to reformulate their vaccines using alternative and ethically acceptable cell sources.”
There is no need to use cells from a murdered child to produce a desired drug. There are morally acceptable alternatives to aborted fetal cells that are equally as effective. We all need to do our part to encourage those in the scientific community to make use of those alternatives — always.