As more Americans are being vaccinated against COVID-19 every day, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urges practicing Catholics not to choose Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.
In a statement this week, the bishops are asking practicing Catholics, if given the chance, to choose Pfizer's or Moderna's COVID vaccine instead. If those aren't available, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said it's still okay to take the Johnson & Johnson shot.
The statement by the USCCB said is not a question of whether or not you should get the vaccine; they say unequivocally you should get vaccinated to protect others as an “act of charity.”
On one side, they know the benefits of being vaccinated, but on the other hand, they want pharmaceutical companies to stop using abortion-derived cell lines for production. The USCCB says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed, tested and is produced with those cell lines.
Harvard immunology expert Dr. Shiv Pillai said that same cell line has been used throughout biology and hasn't been questioned until now.
"Saying something embryonic is related to abortion, I don't think one can connect the center of the origin of the cell line to any act that might be considered immoral," he said.
The newest statement comes at odds with a note approved by Pope Francis, who said "the use of such vaccines doesn't constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive."
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati referred WCPO back to the USCCB statement.
Johnson & Johnson also released a statement saying in part that there is “no fetal tissue in the vaccine.”
Health experts are urging folks to take the vaccine when it is available to you, no matter which.
Read the full statement from the USCCB regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here.