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Answers from our Priests for Life Medical Team


Submitted by: AD on  3/1/2013
Answered by: Matthew P. Harrison, M.D.
Topic: Vaccines
Question:
We are expecting our first child this spring & are concerned about the morality of vaccines. Which ones use aborted stem cell lines & we should avoid? Can we just opt to not vaccinate at all...thank you!
   
Answer:
This is a great question and one I have encountered many times from concerned parents.

 

Children of God for Life at www.cogforlife.org/vaccine have put together a very comprehensive list of the current vaccines that use aborted fetal cell lines and alternatives if available for them.  The common offenders in pediatrics include MMR which has the rubella vaccine, Varivax which is the chicken pox vaccine, Pentacel, and Poliovax.  Alternative vaccines that do not use aborted cell lines in production or development are IPOL for polio and Pediarix for the combination vaccine instead of Pentacel. We used to have morally acceptable vaccines for mumps and measles but they are no longer available. There are also adult vaccines that use aborted fetal cell lines such as Zostavax for shingles and Hepatitis A. Several important points.  First, it is your right as a parent to decline immunizations based on moral objection.  Second, the Catholic Church has not declared the use of these vaccines as absolutely morally unacceptable and each person needs to discern whether the use of these vaccines will leave them with regret.  The Church has stated that because the sin against the child from which these cells have come has already occurred that the use of already existing cells lines does not necessarily constitute new sin and the use of the life saving vaccines is very life affirming, especially in high risk cases.  Some pediatricians will not accept your child as a patient unless you agree to all vaccines because current documentation regulations and vaccine preparation time makes it almost impossible to administer without advanced notice of which vaccines will be used.  Third, it is important to understand that the fetal cells lines provide the machinery to make the vaccines, but that the vaccines do not actually contain the tissue or cellular material of the fetuses. They contain highly purified proteins that mimic the individual diseases and turn on our immune system to protect us. And finally, we must all encourage and even demand that safe, life affirming, vaccines are made available and allow these morally questionable vaccine lines to become extinct.  Thank you and congratulations on your precious gift!


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