Catholic bishops claim Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine comes from aborted cells


(WTAJ) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is recommending not to use the newly released Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement released by the Altoona Johnstown Catholic Diocese, the catholic bishops say very clearly it’s their belief that the vaccine was derived from aborted cells. Johnson & Johnson denies that claim. However, the catholic bishops say the approval of the vaccine for use in the united states raises questions about the “moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.”

According to a statement released by Johnson & Johnson, they say there isn’t any fetal tissue in their vaccine claiming it uses an inactivated non-infective adenovirus vector similar to a cold virus. The adenovirus is grown using what’s called an immortalized cell line, and the virus then is pulled out and purified.

But Dr. Amesh Adalja, a disease specialist in Pittsburgh, says that fetal cell line did originate from an aborted fetus.

That cell line has been propagated or continued and it’s used for not just for this COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson but also rubella vaccine, shingles vaccine, chickenpox vaccine, hepatitis A vaccines, they are an important part of our medical technology.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, Infectious Disease Specialist

Several types of cell lines created decades ago using fetal tissue exist and are widely used in medical manufacturing but the cells in them today are clones of the early cells, not the original tissue. So why the controversy?


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s. A move that some warn could slow the battle against COVID-19.

While the bishops say they don’t support getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they went on to say “given the worldwide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”

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