WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Around the country, Catholics are being urged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to not get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine if given the choice between the three COVID-19 vaccines because of the connection with cells from an aborted baby.
“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is produced in cells that were derived from a fetus that was aborted in Holland way back in 1985,” said Dr. Paul Kamitsuka, an infectious disease specialist at NHRMC.
There is no fetal tissue in the vaccine; instead, these are cells that have been reproduced over decades for research purposes and it’s all legal. Similar cells were used to develop the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
For Catholics, like Allison Ward, the issue is something that raises concerns.
“Just knowing that fact and having that in the back of my mind — it would be a lot better to choose a different vaccine if you had the options,” said Ward.
Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama with the Diocese of Raleigh says he urges Catholics in Eastern NC to get any COVID-19 vaccine that is available. He seconds the position of the Vatican — which released a statement this past December saying:
These reassurances could ultimately change people’s minds who are on the fence about getting the vaccine.
“These vaccines are safe they’re effective, and they are really the only way we are going to get through this pandemic so that we can get back to some semblance of normal life,” said Dr. Paul Kamitsuka