Health experts have warned that Americans should get the vaccine that is given to them.
“If people are offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they shouldn’t say, ‘I don’t want that,'” said Dr. Paul Goebfert, director of the Vaccine Research Clinic in Alabama, last month. “We are not in a scenario in which we can pick and choose vaccines.”
In a statement to CNN, Johnson & Johnson said: “We are proud to bring the COVID-19 vaccine into the world and contribute to ending this pandemic. Our single-shot COVID-19 vaccine uses an inactivated non-infectious adenovirus vector – – similar to a cold virus – encoding the ‘Spike’ protein. “(S) Coronavirus, and there is no fetal tissue in the vaccine.
“We are able to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses using our designed cellular line system and look forward to offering these doses worldwide and helping meet acute need.”
On Wednesday, the White House retracted the statement from the Bishops’ Conference.
An administration official pointed to CNN about the December Vatican statement, adding that the Biden administration “is also addressing indecision and working with local messengers on how to address this, including with religious leaders.”
President Joe Biden is a devout Catholic.
Making a vaccine from cells derived from fetal tissue
Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna used cell strains originating from fetal tissue to test their vaccines, while they were used in the “development, confirmation, and production” of Johnson & Johnson, according to Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease expert in Nebraska Medicine.
By thousands of generations, these cells are removed from the original fetal tissue, Lawler said.
Besides using cells, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is manufactured differently from the other two approved vaccines.
The company has developed an adenovirus vaccine, in which the adenovirus – which has been modified so that it does not cause disease – carries genetic material with the spike protein for the Coronavirus to the body so that a person’s cells can make the same spike protein and activate the immune system. Lawler said:
Lawler said Johnson & Johnson used the embryo cell line because it is “a well-studied industry standard for producing reliable viral vaccines.”
What the bishops say about the vaccine
But now, statements by American Catholic bishops encourage choosing to have the Pfizer / BioNTec or Moderna option when possible.
Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge issued a statement saying, “If for any reasonable circumstance it is possible to receive the vaccine only from Johnson and Johnson, do not hesitate to do so for your safety and for the greater good.”
The statement, echoed in Burlington, went on to say that the decision to receive the vaccine is between the conscience of the individual and the health care provider, but “the Church’s position does not in any way diminish the misconduct of those who decide to use the vaccine. Cell lines from abortions to make vaccines.”
“Given the global suffering caused by this epidemic, we stress once again that vaccination can be an act of charity serving the public good,” the statement said.
The statement was an update of one released in December that echoed the Vatican’s statement, stating that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are ethically acceptable despite their “remote contact with morally damaged cell lines” due to the severity of the pandemic.
What do health experts say
Many health experts encourage those who have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to take it.
“My advice to all of my patients and all of my friends is to get the first vaccine you can get. That’s the most important thing – to get protection,” said Dr. Jeff Carson, president of Rutgers University of Biomedical and Health Sciences at Rutgers. University of New Jersey.
Americans have generally not been offered the choice of which vaccine they will receive, although that may change in some places as supply increases.
With Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, some sites offer any more vaccine they have than that today. The offer changes from week to week.
And while the Pfizer and Moderna options have about 95% leverage compared to the 72% Johnson & Johnson options in the US, experts say they are not the lowest option.
“If we can completely prevent people from dying or entering hospital with Covid, then we will not have a problem anymore,” Goepfert said.
CNN’s Dakin Andoni and Jane Christensen contributed to this report.