In apparent defiance of the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans urged its parishioners on Monday to avoid Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, calling it “morally compromised” due to links to cells derived from aborted fetal tissue.
The strongly worded statement came just two days after the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, which public health officials have hailed because it requires only one dose and doesn’t have cumbersome, cold-storage obstacles.
The “archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing,” according to the archdiocese statement.
The vaccine formula, however, includes no fetal tissue, company officials have said. Like many vaccine makers, Johnson & Johnson uses cells originally derived from fetal tissue in the manufacturing of the vaccine. These cells can be traced back to the 1980s, and are commonly used in labs because they can replicate indefinitely, ensuring they never run out.
The archdiocese’s stance seemed to be at odds with the Vatican, which earlier this year said it was “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive any Covid-19 vaccine, even one based on research that originally used cells derived from aborted fetuses.
In a statement on Tuesday, Johnson & Johnson said there’s “no fetal tissue in our Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.”
“We are able to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses using our engineered cell-line system that enables the rapid production of new viral vaccines to combat many of the most dangerous infectious diseases,” according to the company’s statement.
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SOURCE: NBC News, David K. Li