Covid-19 Vaccines Present ‘No Ethical Problem,’ Says Head of Papal Academy

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The Vatican has reaffirmed its support of Covid-19 vaccines with both the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and a Holy See communique reiterating Pope Francis’ insistence that getting inoculated is “an act of love.”

The Holy See issued its written communique Dec. 22 following the publication the same day of an executive summary by the Vatican’s Covid-19 Commission and a note by the Pontifical Academy for Life. Both documents were dedicated to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children.

At the documents’ presentation, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the papal academy, told Catholic News Service that authorized Covid-19 vaccines present no ethical dilemma, while refusing them is irresponsible toward oneself and others. 

Archbishop Paglia said the Church has long been very careful and attentive to the morality of vaccines using cell lines developed decades ago from the tissue of aborted fetuses. It has established that “there is no ethical problem” for the recipient and no cooperation with evil because of the “remoteness” of the original abortions. 

“Rather, the problem is the inverse. The risk is the irresponsibility toward oneself and others” by refusing vaccination against a deadly disease, he said. 

Also, all vaccines for adults and children, he explained, “must be safe, authorized and guaranteed” by the proper authorities.

Dr. Alberto Villani, an academy member and head of general pediatrics and infectious diseases at the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome, told CNS it was questionable when people argue that “only a few” people die or get seriously ill from Covid-19, as if there were “an ethical threshold” of an acceptable number of deaths when in reality each single life has value.

The Holy See statement comes one year after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published its “Note on the Morality of Using Some Anti-Covid-19 Vaccines.” Therefore, the Vatican said, “it seemed opportune to reaffirm the favorable position of the Holy See toward vaccines.”

“The Holy Father has defined vaccination an ‘act of love’  seeing as how it aims to protect people against Covid-19,” the communique said. 

Pope Francis also has repeated the need for the international community to increase cooperation so that “everyone has quick access to vaccines, not as a matter of convenience, but of justice,” it added.

—CNS