Catholic Bishops in England and Wales have told people that they do not think it is sinful to take the AstraZeneca vaccine being produced to prevent coronavirus.
Three vaccines are being talked about most in the fight against Covid-19: the Pfizer & BionNtech vaccine. which is being rolled out next week, the Moderna vaccine and the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. Neither of the last two have been approved yet in the UK.
Rumours have been circulating around the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it contains cells from an aborted foetus, meaning many Christians and others would not take it for moral reasons.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales has now stated that they do not think a peson sins by taking the AstraZeneca vaccine because of the distance and number of steps taken between a foetus being involved and the administration of the vaccine today.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference wrote: "Some have questioned the use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine since it has been developed from cell-lines originating from the cells of an aborted foetus in 1983. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy of Life have expressed the view that one may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action. In the Covid-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine."
AstraZeneca have confirmed that cells derived from abortions over thirty years ago have been used in tests and to propogate the virus but are not in the final product.
AstraZeneca says its vaccine was not developed using MRC-5 cell-lines (cells grown in a lab, originally from a male abortion), but these lab-grown cells were used in tests. The vaccine was also developed using a different cell strain originally taken from a female foetus aborted in the 1970s, specifically used in the propogation of the virus.
The Catholic Church continued: "Each Catholic must educate his or her conscience on this matter and decide what to do, also bearing in mind that a vaccine must be safe, effective, and universally available, especially to the poor of the world.
"Catholics may in good conscience receive any of these vaccines for the good of others and themselves. In good conscience, one may refuse a particular vaccine but continue to have a duty to protect others from infection. "
"Both the Pfizer & BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have a different source since they are mRNA-based vaccines".
Facebook also announced on Thursday that it would start removing false information about vaccines on its site.