By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Feb 5: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia (CBCM) today has given assurance to its followers that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe for use as they are not derived from aborted foetuses.
It explained that the foetal cell lines used in the vaccines are biological products developed from the cells extracted from the foetus and they are not the same as cells or tissue taken directly from the foetus.
“It has been noted that in order to determine the efficacy of some vaccines, it has been tested against foetal cell lines but they only function as a kind of ‘biological soil’. In no way do these vaccines have any incipient or foetal tissue in the development stage,” CBCM said in a statement issued here today.
It stressed that Catholic teaching protects the good of every life and the health of all and teaches that one must not do harm to another.
“Therefore, the Catholic position is that vaccination is a moral good and the moral principle with regard to vaccinations is that it “depends not only on the duty to protect one’s own health but also on the duty to pursue the common good.”,” it said.
The statement pointed out that the process of developing vaccines should always respect the human dignity of all persons, including the unborn. The Church advocates the protection and sanctity of human life at all stages. Deliberately destroying innocent human life in order to safeguard other lives is ethically wrong.
On whether it is morally permissible for ordinary people to use vaccines that make use of foetal cell lines for research, the statement explained that it for serious or grave reasons, one may be vaccinated even if the vaccine was derived from or tested on foetal cell lines.
“Based on the Catholic moral principles of cooperation, our connection with the past wrongdoing is both remote and distant. Therefore it is not a legitimisation of abortion. Abortion is a grave sin,” it explained.
The statement further asserted that all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in the production of the vaccines derived.
“Based on the Catholic moral principles of cooperation, the Church teaches that for ordinary citizens, who have no direct say in how vaccines are produced, our connection with the past wrongdoing is so remotely distant. Therefore, it is morally acceptable to use a vaccine either developed or researched using foetal cell-lines when there is a grave reason, and no other alternatives are available,” it said.
It added that the Catholic Social Teaching calls on those in authority to not only ensure that rigorous education and outreach campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy, but also to ensure accessibility especially to the most vulnerable in society, accountability and transparency so as to prevent commercial exploitation of the situation, effectivity and safety for the protection of all, and common good to help rebuild lives and that of the nation.
Meanwhile, it has been reported by Vatican News that both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have received their first doses of the vaccine. This was confirmed by the director of the Holy See Press Office Matteo Bruni, that the vaccination was as part of the vaccination program of the Vatican City State. -DayakDaily