Some US Catholic leaders tell congregations to avoid Johnson & Johnson vaccine

National and World News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Some Catholic Church leaders are telling their congregations to avoid the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine because of the church’s pro-life stance.

The issue for many leaders in the Catholic Church with the newest covid vaccine comes down to how it was developed.

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is designed with a non-replicating adenovirus vector, so that’s a DNA vaccine but it delivers the exact same thing as the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which is the genetic code for our own bodies to manufacture the spike protein and then we have an immune response against that spike protein which makes us immune to infection,” Dr. Dean Blumberg told FOX40 Wednesday.

Blumberg is the chief of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis Health.

But Blumberg’s explanation doesn’t cover the claim that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine contains cells from aborted fetuses which is an established way to create some medications.

Though the company says that there is no fetal tissue in its vaccine, the Catholic Conference of Bishops and the archdioceses of New Orleans and St. Louis are telling the faithful that what Johnson & Johnson is offering is morally compromised and should only be taken if no other ethical options are available.

When FOX40 asked for comment from the Sacramento diocese Wednesday, a spokesman said they had no comment and referred FOX40 to the statements from the Catholic Conference of Bishops.

On December 23, Bishop Jamie Soto told believers the following in writing:

For an individual receiving the vaccine, any cooperation with the morally compromised cell line from aborted fetuses is remote. There are currently no alternative treatments that do not involve morally compromised cells. Given the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the moral responsibility to care for one another, it is morally justified to receive the vaccine.

Bishop Jaime Soto, Diocese of Sacramento

Pope Francis said much the same back in December as well and has not changed his stance since American archdioceses have taken issue with the concept.

FOX40 reached out to the Diocese of Stockton Wednesday but did not hear back. In February, Bishop Myron J. Cotta released a memo that said in part that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was morally permissible.

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