The Archdiocese of New Orleans in the US has claimed that taking the Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine is immoral.
The statement came despite the Food and Drug Administration expert panel in the US recommended approving the jab.
“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,” the Archdiocese of New Orleans said in a statement on Friday.
The decision could put the archdiocese in conflict with the Vatican and Pope Francis, who have been pro-vaccine.
While the Archdiocese of New Orleans said it agreed with the Vatican’s approval of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines because they only used the cloned stem cells for testing, it singled out Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for using the cells in manufacturing as well.
Per the Vatican’s advisory late last year, a vaccine that is “produced” with those cells is admissible. But the Archdiocese of New Orleans disagreed.
“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,” the statement says.
As some houses of worship host vaccination centres, the advice could affect distribution efforts in New Orleans and drive people away from the single-dose vaccine as health officials urge Americans to take whichever doses are available.