Watch: Anti-Covid-19 vaccines morally acceptable – Vatican

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Monday published a document clearly stating that the anti-Covid-19 vaccines which have been medically approved by the relevant authorities are morally acceptable. The document was approved by Pope Francis.

Newsbook.com.mt spoke to moral theologian Rev. Dr Carlo Calleja to further clarify the teaching of this document.

Fr Joe Borg, who interviewed Fr Calleja, noted that a reader sent an email to Newsbook.com.mt saying that he would not receive the vaccine as, in his words, this is linked to abortion.

Fr Calleja noted that in several countries there were concerns raised by many who said that there are vaccines which were produced with cell lines derived from two foetuses aborted in the 1960s.

In line with the declaration, Fr Calleja explained, among other things, that:

  • The use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.
  • 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 foetuses in their research and production process.
  • The kind of cooperation is such cases is passive and remote.
  • The moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory since there exists a grave danger, in the form of an “uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent.”

No legitimation of abortion

Fr Calleja said that nothing in the document of the Congregation can be construed as a legitimation, even indirect, of the practice of abortion. He emphasised that this is not the case adding that this declaration should not even be seen to imply a moral approval of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted foetuses.

The document of the Congregation in fact, said Fr Calleja, calls on pharmaceutical companies and government health agencies to “produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience.”

Is one obliged to take the vaccine?

Is one morally obliged to take the vaccine? Newsbook.com.mt asked Fr Calleja.

 The lecturer of Moral Theology noted that there is a moral obligation to safeguard one’s life and that of others as well as the common good. It could be, he added, that though the Church is saying that it is morally acceptable to take the vaccine there could be someone who  for reasons of conscience reject these vaccines. In such cases the person concerned is obliged to do one utmost and take all precautions to avoid being infected by the virus or transmitting the virus to someone else.

Take care of poor countries

Calleja said that the statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith quite rightly says that it is “a moral imperative” for the pharmaceutical industry, governments, and international organizations to ensure that effective and ethically acceptable vaccines are accessible “to the poorest countries in a manner that is not costly for them.”

“The lack of access to vaccines, otherwise, would become another sign of discrimination and injustice that condemns poor countries to continue living in health, economic and social poverty”, he said quoting from the document issues by the Congregation.