A Catholic Ethical Response to Covid-19 Vaccines
The Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) after a study seminar has brought out the following statements as the conclusion of their study on Catholic Ethical Response to Covid-19 Vaccines.
1. Many vaccines use cell lines derived from aborted human foetuses at some stage in their research and production. As abortion is immoral, Catholics need to publicly advocate for the development, testing and production of vaccines which do not use cell lines from the aborted foetuses.
2. Those who take the available vaccines have only a ‘remote’ and ‘passive’ cooperation with the use of cell lines from aborted human foetuses, and with the development, production and testing of these vaccines. The vaccines do not contain foetal cells. Because of the moral distance from the evil act, these vaccinations are not immoral. Thus, Catholics can receive these vaccines in good conscience. Due to the serious nature of the disease, and deaths involving vulnerable groups, vaccination can also contribute to the control of the pandemic and the common good.
3. Vaccine programs for Covid must keep in mind issues of social justice. It is important to be aware of the proposed vaccine program and advocate active participation. Individuals and institutions must play their part to ensure that the vaccine reaches all beneficiaries, particularly the vulnerable and marginalised. The universal destination of goods requires a common effort, to obtain for every person and for all peoples the conditions necessary for integral development so that all can benefit from, and contribute to, a humane world.
4. Contrary to some views, the Catholic Church is not anti-science. However, it strongly believes that there are moral concerns with science and its applications. Catholics need to be aware of the moral implications of scientific developments, and evaluate them in the light of Church teachings.
5. Every individual must diligently follow current public health preventive guidelines for the Covid-19 pandemic in order to protect oneself and others around them. This is a reflection of our solidarity with others who can be protected by these actions. Stigmatisation of individuals who are ill or unvaccinated is harmful to the individual and society.
6. It is important for individuals to access reliable information from valid sources and disseminate only such information, cognisant that false information is detrimental to efforts to control the pandemic. We must search within ourselves and as institutions, for ways in which we can enhance the collective effort to address the pandemic for the benefit of all, especially the poor, vulnerable and marginalised.
Bishop’s House, Kohima