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Some American Bishops Discourage Catholics From Getting Johnson & Johnson Vaccines If Others Are Available

fr24news– The vaccine is the third to be authorized in the United States. Unlike its predecessors – from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna – the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one injection and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperature, making it easy to transport.

Health experts have warned Americans should get vaccinated.

“If people are offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they shouldn’t be saying, ‘I don’t want it,’” said Dr. Paul Goepfert, director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic last month. “We are not in a scenario where we can pick and choose vaccines. “

Prior to the United States emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the doctrinal office of the Roman Catholic Church – the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – stated that “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process. ”

The new statement from the Bishops’ Conference contradicts a note approved by Pope Francis, who received a vaccine in January. The December memo stated 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 are derived.”

In a statement to CNN, Johnson & Johnson said, “We are proud to bring our COVID-19 vaccine to the world and help end this pandemic. Our single-injection COVID-19 vaccine uses an inactivated, non-infectious adenovirus vector – similar to a common cold virus – that encodes the coronavirus ‘spike’ (S) protein, and there is no fetal tissue in it. vaccine.

“We are able to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses using our cell line system and we look forward to delivering those doses worldwide and helping meet critical needs.

On Wednesday, the White House pushed back the statement from the Bishops’ Conference.

An administration official pointed CNN to the December Vatican statement, adding that the Biden administration “was also responding to hesitation and working with local messengers on how to deal with this, including with religious leaders.”

President Joe Biden is a practicing Catholic.

Making a vaccine with cells from fetal tissue

Vaccine manufacturers sometimes use fetal cell lines when developing a vaccine.

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Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna used cell lines from fetal tissue to test their vaccines, while they were used in Johnson & Johnson’s “development, confirmation and production”, according to expert Dr. James Lawler in infectious diseases at Nebraska Medicine.

These cells are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue, Lawler said.

Along with the use of cells, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is manufactured differently from the other two licensed vaccines.

The company has developed an adenovirus vector vaccine, in which the adenovirus – which has been modified not to cause disease – carries genetic material with a coronavirus spike protein into a body so that a person’s cells can make spike protein itself and activate their immune system. against the virus, Lawler said.

Johnson & Johnson used the fetal cell line they made because it is “a well-researched industry standard for the safe and reliable production of viral vector vaccines,” Lawler said.

Ohio State University clinic manager Paige Blankenship, left, administers one of the first Johnson & amp;  Johnson Covid-19 vaccines Tuesday.

What the bishops say about the vaccine

But now statements by American bishops are encouraging Catholics to go with the Pfizer / BioNTec or Moderna option when possible.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans called the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “morally compromised” in a statement last week, and the dioceses of Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Burlington, Vermont, issued statements expressing concern on the shot.

Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge issued a statement which reads: “If for some reason you can only receive the vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, you should feel free to do so for your own. security and for the common good ”.

The statement, which was echoed in Burlington, went on to say that the decision to receive the vaccine is between an individual conscience and their health care provider, but that “in no way does the Church’s position diminish the harms of those who decided to use abortion cell lines to make vaccines. ”

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While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should be chosen over those of Johnson and Johnson when possible, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement Tuesday that it is “morally acceptable” to receive the vaccines. when “ethically flawless” options are not available.

“In view of the global suffering caused by this pandemic, we reiterate that vaccination can be an act of charity in the service of the common good,” the statement read.

The statement was an update to one released in December that echoed the Vatican statement, saying that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were morally acceptable despite their “remote connection to morally compromised cell lines” due to the severity of the vaccine. the pandemic.

What the health experts say

Many health experts encourage those who have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available to take it.

“My advice to all of my patients and friends will be to get the first vaccine you can get. That’s what matters most – being protected, ”said Dr. Jeff Carson, Provost at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences of Rutgers University of New Jersey.

Fauci: 'I would take any vaccine I have'

Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist who was raised in the Catholic faith, urged Americans on Sunday to take one of the three “very effective” coronavirus vaccines now available to them and to not delay getting one vaccine over another.

Americans have generally not had a choice of which vaccine to obtain, although that may change in some places as the supply increases.

With Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, some sites offer the vaccine they have the most that day. The supply changes from week to week.

And while the Pfizer and Moderna options are roughly 95% efficient compared to Johnson & Johnson’s 72% in the US, experts say it’s not the worst option.

They say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an effective vaccine that offers good protection against severe forms of Covid-19. Anyone should take it if they have the chance. The vaccine is effective up to 86% against severe forms of the disease.

“If we could completely prevent people from dying or being hospitalized with Covid, we don’t have a problem anymore,” Goepfert said.

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