COVID-19 Vaccine and Stem Cells

Looks like the vaccine will be derived from embryonic stem cells. Will you take it knowing that it is?

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This is not true and highly irresponsible of the bishop to spread misinformation. The bishop is incorrect.

First, there is a difference between fetal tissue research and embryonic stem cell research. They aren’t the same thing and it shows ignorance and lack of facts to use these terms interchangeably.

Second: Neither Pfizer nor Moderna’s vaccines were developed with fetal tissue or embryonic stem cells.

If any other companies develop vaccines using fetal cell lines, it still does not mean that a Catholic cannot take the vaccine.

As has been discussed in this forum a thousand times before already, the Vatican has responded to the question of the use of vaccines developed using techniques involving fetal tissue. And, it can be morally permissible especially when another alternative is not available to the person.

Do not spread misinformation about the development of Covid vaccines. Do your research:


Yes, do your research, as all Catholics should and not just take something without asking where it came from. The vaccine that AstraZeneca is developing which is in late-stage testing is developed with fetal cells.

So, yes, please do research. And if there IS an alternative, then yes, Catholics should take the vaccine NOT developed from fetal cells.

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“We are not like the parents who sit in doctors’ offices accepting a morally tainted vaccine because there are no alternatives while voicing an objection that goes nowhere. Rather, we are talking about a vaccine currently in development , a vaccine that could be required for the entire population in a year’s time, a new kind of vaccine that has never gone to market before and will certainly undergo more testing and development.”

" In 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL), for parents confronted with childhood vaccines produced using fetal cell lines. Bioethicists today often cite this document as reluctant support for using unethically produced vaccines if there is no alternative. But that is not all the Vatican instructed.

The document also said that vaccines produced “as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted” is morally illicit. This appears to apply to the Moderna vaccine."

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Notice, though, that this seems to not be a settled question. Some say “it used a cell line that originated with an aborted fetus” and others say that it did not (including the NCBC, which is a well-respected authority in the matter of moral theology).

Moreover, the author asserts unequivocally that “Bishop Strickland is right to declare that ‘unborn children died in abortions and then their bodies were used as laboratory specimens’ when they were dissected for cells to grow into cell lines.” Yet, her own article points out that there is not consensus on this opinion.

Why does she make such a strong (and seemingly factually inaccurate) statement in support of Bp Strickland? It couldn’t be, could it, because she works for him? To wit, from the article @MarkRome cited:



If it isn’t settled, then it can’t be settled with the NCBC either. We should want it settled before we might take it, no?

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You form your conscience and then you act according to your properly formed conscience with the information available to you at the time.

There are many issues that are unsettled in the church, and remain unsettled and may never be settled.

There are others, particularly moral issues, that have taken decades for the church to provide detailed guidance on.

For example Donna Vitae came out 9 years after the first in vitro baby was born. And many more years after in vitro became a method scientists were attempting to make successful.

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No, not true. The NCBC gave its advice. There’s no consensus yet, though, but the NCBC seems to have taken a position.

I’m with @1ke – we each do our best, looking at all the relevant facts, and then we engage our consciences to come to a personal decision.


This isn’t one of those issues that can’t be settled very quickly.

And yet, it remains “unsettled”. There are moral principles upon which to form one’s conscience on this and other issues.

The Vatican or “the Church” isn’t going to necessarily make a pronouncement on each and every thing that comes along. In fact, they don’t make pronouncements on MOST things.

We form our conscience and then act on our properly formed conscience.

Ready, fire, aim.

If a murderer is approaching your family, threatening injury or murder, that might be the correct approach.

You wouldn’t stand there and say “well, I’m not sure whether I really need this 45 Magnum; maybe a smaller caliber would be more morally licit? Or, perhaps I should wait until I feel a little better about a recourse to deadly force; hmm…”

I mean… would you? Or would you take the appropriate action at the present time, to mitigate the risk?

We aren’t talking about a murderer threatening our family. They aren’t moral equivalents.

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Question? There are now two vaccines that seem likely to be available. Are both of them questionable regarding cell line development? Or, just the one mentioned. Both seem like good candidates, with one just a small percentage better. If the second vaccine is cell line free, wouldn’t that mean you could decide with a clearer conscious?

I’m certainly hoping this isn’t just an excuse to avoid vaccination? I do hope there are choices for those feeling this is a moral dilemma. We desperately need a vaccine AND people willing to take it!

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As this is a new “technology” of injecting RNA into a human body to develop antibodies, I will happily allow about 5 billion people to be vaccinated prior to myself and family to prove it’s safety and efficacy. Having know a thalidomide baby in my youth, I am leery of accepting at face value the pharmaceutical industry’s assurance of its safety.


Nobody’s talking much about AstraZeneca and U of Oxford vaccines, because Moderna and Pfizer are likely to have vaccines available first. And both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are ethically permissible according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. We’ve already had multiple threads on this.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not “questionable” at all. (I’m happy to go with the position of the NCBC and the Charlotte Lozier Institute. I don’t need to agonize over it.) Two bishops have unfortunately spread misinformation about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the past week.

The vaccines that use fetal cells are U of Oxford and Astrazeneca, both of which appear to be behind Moderna and Pfizer in development. I don’t plan to take either one of those vaccines, since it seems like effective alternatives that don’t use fetal cells will be available.


I guess that depends on whether you’re willing to have your family exposed to a deadly disease…

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