The Catholic Medical Association, the largest association of Catholic individuals in health care and leader in the field of ethics in biomedicine, has published the JOINT STATEMENT: VACCINES AND CONSCIENCE PROTECTION. As we know, some of our rights have been restricted and our society has experienced limitations in personal freedoms (Read the full statement HERE)
COVID-19 and equitable vaccine distribution
The article addresses the new scenario that has emerged with the availability of vaccines that “provide a sliver of hope but also raise many questions”, adding that, “[i]ssues our society must address include prioritizing equitable vaccine distribution and the potential for coercive mandates on vaccine use”.
In terms of these issues, our Observatory has published several articles, basing our opinion on what the Catholic Church has recently published in various documents by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which provide relevant information on the subject (read the latest HERE).
As regards the moral obligation to accept vaccination, the CMA’s statement is clear:” If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable. An individual’s decision to be vaccinated will also depend upon their personal assessment of the medical risks, a choice that should be respected. The decision not to be vaccinated must be accompanied by a commitment to take necessary precautions to lessen disease transmission.” In relation to this issue, we recently published an article on the four vaccines for which we have sufficient information regarding the use of cells obtained from induced abortions (read HERE).
The CMA statement also addresses potential coerced vaccination by the American Government, an issue that has triggered debate in American media: “Coerced vaccination would irreparably harm Constitutional rights and the patient-physician relationship. Conscience is an individual belief influenced by many factors such as faith, culture, family, and reason. Each individual makes a conscientious decision in any given situation. Respect for conscience rights is always of primary importance.”
The article ends by saying that, “the right to make individual health care decisions while taking into account our responsibility for the common good” should be respected. From a personalist bioethical point of view, this judgment appears to be indisputable.
Organizations supporting CMA statement:
American College of Pediatricians – acpeds.org
Catholic Medical Associations – cathmed.org
Christian Medical and Dental Association – cmda.org
National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. – nacn-usa.org