What about religious concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine?
It is important to respect that there are religious concerns around vaccines. While individuals must decide what is right for them and their faith, the following is information that may be helpful.
In an updated statement on March 2, 2021, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement which included the following:
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.’ However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.
According to a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in January 2021:
It can be morally acceptable to receive a vaccine that uses abortion-derived cell lines if there are no other available vaccines comparable in safety and efficacy with no connection to abortion.
If it is possible to choose among a number of equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen.
If a vaccine with no connection to abortion-derived cell lines is not readily available, vaccines that used such cell lines only for testing would be preferable to those that use such cell lines for ongoing production.
Such choices may not be possible, however, especially in the early stages of vaccine distribution. In that case, one may receive any of the clinically recommended vaccines in good conscience with the assurance that reception of such vaccines does not involve immoral cooperation in abortion.
The Vatican released a statement in mid-December 2020 saying that it is okay to get COVID-19 vaccine, even if research involved fetal tissue.
The Jewish Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America also issued guidance around that time, encouraging COVID-19 vaccination.
An important consideration to some Jewish and Muslim individuals is whether the vaccines are halal as pork has been in gelatin in other vaccines. Spokespeople for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have said that pork products are not part of their COVID-19 vaccines.