COVID Vaccine – Making an informed decision

We’re being asked on a regular basis – what’s Family First’s view of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Here’s some of the important questions that we know you may be asking:

  • Is it true that the new COVID vaccines have not undergone normal safety testing procedures?
  • Is it true that the new COVID vaccines contain tissues from an aborted foetus?
  • Should we accept a vaccine that is ‘morally tainted’?
  • Is being pro-vaccine incompatible with being pro-life?
  • Is it true that the risks of coronavirus infection have been massively exaggerated for political or other devious reasons?
  • Is it true that Western democratic governments are planning to make coronavirus vaccination compulsory?
  • Are there any actual ‘conspiracy theories’ that I should be aware of?

To be blunt, we are not medical experts! But we do monitor the advice of credible medical specialists, infectious disease specialists, bioethicists, scientific researchers and Christian ethicists, and our partner organisations around the world who are sharing the views of these professionals.

So in an attempt to help kiwi families make an informed decision, we offer a list of articles worth reading.

Family First NZ is not telling you whether to take or not take the vaccine – it’s a matter of individual conscience. There are genuine and legitimate concerns on both sides of the debate, and we should accept and respect the conscientious decisions made by others.

We have gathered articles recommended by Christian Concern and International Christian Medical and Dental Association based in the UK; Focus on the Family, Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Family Research Council based in the US, and have sought the opinions of our own medical advisers to Family First.

But it is vital that families make their decision with full knowledge of the facts and arguments.

CHRISTIAN CONCERN (UK)
Source: Vaccines – safety, ethics and the bigger picture

Are the vaccines dangerous?

“By and large, Christian medical experts – many of whom have stood against the tide on contentious issues like abortion and euthanasia – agree with the scientific consensus that the vaccines are fundamentally safe and that the risks of COVID-19 are considerably greater than the vaccine.”

(But they do acknowledge the concern that these vaccines have been developed very quickly – but that is partly due to the urgency amongst the world’s scientific community who are working together, and also the significant financial investment to develop a vaccine to stop this pandemic.)

 Are the vaccines moral?

“As well as safety concerns, questions are raised about the use of cells deriving from an abortion nearly fifty years ago. These are called HEK 293 cells, which have been used in production and/or testing of all of the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK. Use of these cell lines is not new – many previous vaccines and even medications have used these or similar cells in their production or testing…. The majority of Christian medics and ethicists lean towards accepting the vaccine. But there are faithful, informed Christians who believe that taking the vaccine wrongly benefits from past evil, participates in evil now, or encourages further evil through more abortion and experimentation. Their views are well worth considering.”

More favourable to vaccines

Mostly neutral

Less favourable to these vaccines

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know

FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL
COVID Vaccine: A Promising Start, But Freedom Must Be Paramount

CHARLOTTE LOZIER INSTITUTE
What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Cardinal John Dew: New Zealand Catholic Bishops
Covid-19 vaccine is a moral duty

Vatican Report
Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines (Dec 2020)

The Vatican Report correctly identifies a key issue: Both pharmaceutical companies and governmental health agencies are therefore encouraged to produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience for either health care providers or the people to be vaccinated.

An example of this was the Trump Administration’s excellent policy that they would no longer conduct internal research using tissue from aborted babies and would greatly increase the ethics rules and safeguards that govern external fetal tissue research contracts.

Final thoughts

As Christian Concern in the UK argues, those who support taking the vaccine ought not to trample on the consciences of those who believe that it is morally wrong. It is one thing to seek to persuade – it is another to act in judgement.

We trust that these articles will assist in your decision making process on this significant issue.

UPDATE 11 February 2020

Also check the Immunisation Advisory Centre updates

Are COVID-19 vaccines going to be compulsory in New Zealand?

No. The New Zealand Government has stated that COVID-19 vaccination WILL NOT be compulsory.

Will COVID-19 vaccines be safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same safety standards as all vaccines. New Zealand will not be approving COVID-19 vaccines for use until they have reviewed sufficient data on both safety and on how well the vaccine works (efficacy). Internationally, tens of thousands of participants were enrolled in each Phase 3 trial and mass vaccination campaigns involving millions of people are currently underway. Safety information on those who have been vaccinated is being closely monitored. All clinical trials involved an independent safety monitoring committee. These vaccines may have been produced quickly (see more below) however we can be confident that no shortcuts with regards to safety have been taken.

Is it true that they are skipping steps to make a vaccine more quickly?

No. It is true that COVID-19 vaccines have been produced faster than previous vaccines, but this is not because steps are being skipped. Instead, a combination of increased funding, international collaboration and removing some of things that usually slow progress (i.e. doing some of the processes at the same time) has sped up progress. Further information on this topic is available here.

Can mRNA vaccines change the DNA of a person?

No. RNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s genome as our genetic material is contained within the nucleus of our cells and mRNA cannot enter this area. Following injection with an mRNA vaccine, the mRNA is taken up locally by cells where the instructions to produce the immune system stimulant are followed. At this point, the RNA is broken down, ready to be recycled. For more information on RNA and DNA vaccines, please click here.

Do COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal cells?

Human cell lines are sometimes used in vaccine manufacturing as this is known to be a safe and efficient way to produce vaccines. Both the Janssen and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidates have done so. NO cells from the manufacturing process remain in the vaccine because purification removes all the cell culture material. The Catholic Church has issued a formal statement saying it is ‘morally acceptable’ to take vaccines that use cell lines from aborted foetuses. For further information on fetal cells and COVID19 vaccines, click here.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE 7 March 2021

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, in light of guidance from the Vatican, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center affirm that though there was some lab testing that utilized the abortion-derived cell line, the two vaccines currently available from Pfizer and Moderna do not rely on cell lines from abortions in the manufacturing process and therefore can be morally acceptable for Catholics as the connection to abortion is extremely remote.

It is under the same guidance that the archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.

We maintain that the decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of individual conscience in consultation with one’s healthcare provider. We also maintain that in no way does the Church’s position diminish the wrongdoing of those who decided to use cell lines from abortions to make vaccines. In doing so, we advise that if the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available, Catholics should choose to receive either of those vaccines rather than to receive the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of its extensive use of abortion-derived cell lines.
READ THE FULL STATEMENT: https://nolacatholic.org/news/a-statement-regarding-the-janssen-johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine

 

JUST RELEASED: Should we accept vaccines which used fetal cell lines?

Our friends Christian Concern in the UK hosted a debate this week which explored these questions between Dave Brennan of Brephos and Professor John Wyatt, Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at University College London and President of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

We highly recommend this 1-hour debate. Perhaps you can find time this weekend to watch this important discussion. (Also note that the vaccine being primarily used by New Zealand is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine)

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