The Vatican said Monday that it was “morally acceptable” to receive Covid-19 vaccines tied to research involving fetal tissue derived from abortions, as long as there was no alternative.
The Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, citing the severity of the pandemic, said that “all vaccinations recognised 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 derive.”
A note signed by the top officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis pointed to past Vatican pronouncements on vaccines made from cells derived from aborted fetuses.
The congregation said that it had received “several requests for guidance” regarding the new vaccines.
Fetal tissue from abortions has long been critical to some scientific research, but the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a grave sin.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s note said that anyone who decided to refuse a vaccine “for reasons of conscience” was under obligation to “do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”
In its note, the congregation also said it was “a moral imperative” for the “pharmaceutical industry, governments and international organizations” to ensure that vaccines be made available to the poorest countries at accessible prices.