MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — There is “no absolute duty” to boycott any COVID-19 vaccine produced with the help of cells derived from aborted fetuses, said a researcher from a Catholic bioethics institute.
Scientists from the University of Oxford, England, are conducting human trials of a possible vaccine against the coronavirus in the hope that it could be made ready for use by September.
But because researchers had used cell lines from a fetus aborted in 1972, the vaccine could present an ethical dilemma for Catholics and others opposed to abortion, said Helen Watt, a senior research fellow with the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford.
In a briefing paper issued April 27, she said it was not always wrong to use vaccines produced via cell lines obtained in this way.
“Boycotting a COVID-19 vaccine in the absence of an alternative is a serious action that should be carefully considered because of its potentially grave risks both for the person and for others,” she said in the paper published on the website of the center, which serves the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
She said its use was a matter of individual conscience for Catholics, although they should strive to obtain alternative vaccines, made without fetal cells, once such vaccines arrive on the market.
“The moral onus is certainly on the person to do this as a witness to the value of human life and life-respecting research,” she said.
“Boycotts are often rightly regarded simply as a means of achieving change by highlighting abuses,” she added, though “some will feel, whether rightly or wrongly, called to a boycott even if no alternative vaccine is available to them.”
When judging the researchers, Watt continued, it was important to remember that “we walk in Rome on paving laid by slaves … we live in countries that our ancestors unjustly invaded.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103