Vaccinations have helped reduce the spread of many contagious diseases, but at what cost? A vaccine is made of a live, dead or partial form of the bacteria or virus which causes a particular disease, allowing the body to produce immunity to it. Unlike bacteria, such as those which cause diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP), viruses require living cells (human or animal) to grow in. The WI-38 and MRC-5 cell strains, used to make certain viral vaccines including those listed below, were taken from the tissues of unborn babies who were aborted for non-medical reasons.1
How are we to respond to this information? The Vatican has offered a series of suggestions. When no alternatives exist and there is a high risk to unvaccinated individuals, “vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis”2. However, we have a “duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available.”2
Catholics should keep in mind that there is a connection between vaccines made from fetal cells and the abortion industry. We should avoid them where reasonably possible.
|Vaccine||Fetal Cell Derived||Ethical Alternative|
|Measles/Mumps/Rubella||MMR3||None in US|
|Hepatitis A||Vaqta3, Havrix3, Twinrix6, Epaxal5, Vivaxim7||None in US|
|Hepatitis B||Twinrix6||Engerix-B9, Recombivax HB9|
|Polio||Polio Sabin13||IPOL11, IMOVAX® Polio12|
- Fetal cells used to produce some vaccines are obtained from aborted babies.
- We should use alternative vaccines whenever possible.
- We should also pressure pharmaceutical companies to create ethical alternative vaccines where none currently exist.