Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

CNS photo/Bryan Woolston, Reuters
LaShawn Scott, a nurse at University of Louisville Hospital, is inoculated with the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the Louisville, Ky., health care facility Dec. 14.


Archbishop Hartmayer’s statement on COVID-19 vaccines

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF, | Published December 15, 2020  | En Español

ATLANTA–Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., addressed the moral implications of COVID-19 vaccines in a Dec. 15 statement. In a memo to priests, school and chancery staff, he encouraged archdiocesan employees to get a vaccine when one becomes available to them.

The archbishop’s statement guiding Catholics follows:

“Should you get a COVID-19 vaccine? The short answer is yes.

There has been some concern about whether or not Catholics should seek a COVID-19 vaccine. As you may know, some vaccines are created using tissue or cell lines from fetuses aborted many years ago. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has and will continue to advocate for a vaccine with no connection to abortion.

There are currently three vaccines either approved or in review for approval. One from Pfizer, one from Moderna and a third from AstraZeneca. In the words of the USCCB committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Committee on Doctrine, ‘Neither Pfizer nor Moderna used morally compromised cell lines in the design, development, or production of the vaccine. A confirmatory test, however, employing the commonly used, but morally compromised HEK293 cell line was performed on both vaccines. Thus, while neither vaccine is completely free from any connection to morally compromised cell lines, in this case the connection is very remote from the initial evil of the abortion.’

The AstraZeneca vaccine is morally compromised because of the cell line used in its development. However, if no other vaccine is available to you, it is morally permissible to receive it because of the good it provides to both you and your community.

From the very beginning of this pandemic, I have been urging you to take precautions to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. We wear masks, sit apart from one another and go to Mass on days other than Sunday so that we can protect those at highest risk of having severe complications or dying from COVID-19. I ask you to keep this in mind when it comes time for you to get vaccinated. This is the key to ending this pandemic, which has killed nearly 300,000 Americans.

Again, the words of my brother bishops, ‘In addition, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.’

As other vaccines become available, the USCCB will provide guidance on their moral implications. You can find the entire statement from the USCCB here:”