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Filipino bishops welcome COVID vaccine, points out ethical scientific process

The members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed support for the national government in the procurement and distribution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines.

The prelates are also calling for the government to implement "single vaccine distribution plan that prioritizes medical frontliners and those who are most at risk for COVID-19" as they praise the consideration of giving access to poor families.

However, they point out an ethical concern in the process in which the vaccines have been developed by scientists.

"As pastors, we have to call attention to one ethical concern. We have learned that some of the COVID-19 vaccines were manufactured using cells obtained from the remains of an aborted female fetus who was killed in 1973," the bishops said in a statement.

"The perennial teaching of the Church must be repeated: Deliberately procuring abortion, even if it is for the purpose of obtaining material for vaccines, is morally unacceptable. The end does not justify the means; otherwise, the most inhuman and inhumane acts would be permissible in order to attain supposedly “worthwhile” ends."

They underscored an earlier advise in the event that vaccines will be developed for the fatal viral disease that "the national government to prioritize vaccines that were developed without the use of the morally controversial cell lines derived from the remains of an aborted child."

Catholics are allowed to avail of the new vaccine, the CBCP said.

Quoting a statement issued by the Vatican, the bishops said "when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process."

With the scientific breakthrough as vaccines have been tested and currently distributed around the globe, the bishops also commended the scientists.

"We thank our scientists who have once more applied their expertise to the welfare of human beings and to their protection from the dreaded scourge of disease. We know that the study and work that precede the production of a vaccine are arduous," they added, as they paid tribute to health workers and other frontliners in the fight against the disease.

"We commend our brothers and sisters who have perished to the love of God, and we raise a common prayer of thanksgiving for our health workers and other front liners who served most gallantly in these terrible months that have gone by." -- BAP, GMA News