Vaccine exemption: Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas will not issue religious exemptions for Covid-19 vaccine
After “careful consideration and prayer” based on reports from pastors in the diocese that they have received a small amount of such requests, Bishop George Leo Thomas said he believed the issuance of vaccine exemptions would contradict the directives of Pope Francis, according to a communication obtained by CNN.
âOver the past few months, our Holy Father Pope Francis has made it clear that the various forms of Covid vaccines are morally acceptable, urging Catholics around the world to get vaccinated, not just for their own safety and well-being. , but also for concern for the weak and vulnerable among us, âsaid the bishop.
The announcement comes as much of the nation is debating vaccine mandates. Health experts say warrants are essential to protect people enough to curb the spread of the virus, while some officials and segments of the population argue that such warrants infringe on personal freedom.
Some religious groups joined in the debate, as they said the Covid-19 restrictions and vaccination warrants violate their religious expression.
“Parishioners are free to assert their right to declare conscientious objections on medical or moral grounds if they wish,” Thomas said.
Las Vegas is in Clark County, where the Southern Nevada Health District on Wednesday reported that the county had surpassed 300,000 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
Controversy over fetal cell lines
Discussion of the church’s position on vaccines began early in the distribution and focused on the use of fetal cell lines in research and production.
The month before receiving a vaccine in January, Pope Francis said that “the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in vaccine production are derived.”
But in March, some Catholic bishops raised concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and urged members to source another vaccine when available.
Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have used cell lines from fetal tissue to test their vaccines, but are not used in the manufacture or production of vaccines, while fetal cell lines have been used in “development, confirmation and the production “of Johnson & Johnson, according to Dr. James Lawler. , an infectious disease expert at Nebraska Medicine.
These cells are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue, Lawler said.
Johnson & Johnson used the fetal cell line because it is “a well-researched industry standard for the safe and reliable production of viral vector vaccines,” Lawler said.