Filipino bishops urge everyone to get vaccinated; raises ethical concern on vaccine production

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) – The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines urged every Filipino to get vaccinated from COVID-19 once the vaccines arrive in the country.

The Filipino bishops’ group said in a pastoral statement that getting vaccinated will be a big step in ending the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

While they endorse the vaccination of everyone against the coronavirus which infected over 492,000 persons in the country, the CBCP emphasized they respect each individual’s right of choice to get vaccinated.

“We therefore recognize that each individual person should be left free to decide to choose to be vaccinated or not according to his or her conscience with full awareness of the obligation to protect oneself from being an instrument of contagion and the farther spread of the virus,” the statement reads.

However, the CBCP raised one ethical concern on COVID-19 vaccines manufactured using cells from the remains of an aborted female fetus killed in 1973.

The bishops then appealed to the national government to distribute vaccines that were developed without the use of cell lines from an aborted child’s remains.

“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,” the CBCP stated.

The Filipino bishops praised the national government’s efforts in procuring the much-needed COVID-19 vaccines. They also stressed the poor, medical frontliners, and other vulnerable sectors of the society should be prioritized in the national vaccination program.

“It would be a moral tragedy if young, healthy company employees who are at low risk for the disease are immunized before our doctors, nurses, and other frontliners, and before our senior citizens who are at higher risk for illness,” the CBCP said.

The CBCP also thanked the scientists and medical frontliners who are risking their lives to protect the people and find cure from the coronavirus disease.

To date, the Philippines has recorded 492,700 cases, which include 9,699 deaths and 458,523 recoveries.