Bishops Urge the FDA to Develop an Ethical Vaccine for COVID-19

Vial

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sent a letter to Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking him to ensure that vaccines for COVID-19 are developed ethically and free from any connection to abortion. The letter was signed by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, and Bishop John F. Doerfler, chairman of the Subcommittee on Healthcare Issues, along with 20 leaders of healthcare, bioethics, and pro-life organizations.

The bishops expressed their strong support for efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible. However, they also urged the FDA to "ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines", specifically, that "human life is sacred and should never be exploited." The letter noted that "among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies." The bishops point out that there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce any vaccine, as cell lines not connected to abortion are "available and regularly being used." 

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has also been at the forefront of calling for ethical medical responses to the pandemic. To read its recent guidance on the development of ethical COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the NCBC website. You can also find the NCBC resource page for vaccines derived from unethical sources here.

April 27, 2020 - 9:05am
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