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Two Catholic groups: no vaccine mandate without protections of conscience

Washington – Two Catholic organizations issued statements in July urging not to impose a coronavirus vaccine mandate without conscience, religious or medical exemptions.

In a survey of its members, the Catholic Medical Association said in a July 28 statement that all who responded “have expressed a moral / ethical objection to the use of aborted fetal cell lines in development, testing. and / or the production of the three currently available vaccines. “

“As an organization, the AMC opposes mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscientious or religious exemption,” the association said. “A Catholic’s decision to be immunized must be informed by the church’s clear and authoritative moral teaching on immunizations.”

For healthcare organizations, “historically, a vaccinated workforce has been an effective way of fostering” a safe environment for its patients, the CMA acknowledged.

“While we recognize the importance of this consideration medically and ethically,” he said, “the teaching of the church is clear,” as a general rule “vaccination” must be voluntary. ” and based on an individual’s own good conscience assessment of the medical risks. / the benefits and morals of a particular vaccine. This is imperative. “

The National Catholic Bioethics Center, in a July 2 statement, said it “does not approve mandatory COVID-19 vaccination with any of the three vaccines” which received emergency use clearance on the 1st. July from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The NCBC and CMA both cited the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s December 21, 2020 statement, “Note on the Morality of Use of Certain COVID-19 Vaccines.”

The NCBC quoted in part the Vatican statement: “Those who, for reasons of conscience, however refuse vaccines produced with cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, should do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behaviors, to become vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.

“When ethically flawless COVID-19 vaccines are not available (…) it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” said CMA citing the document. “The moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory … At the same time, practical reason clearly shows that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary “”

The CMA, like the NCBC, has also strongly emphasized that people who choose not to be vaccinated for reasons of conscience are obligated to avoid transmitting the virus.

“The NCBC’s position is that we are not taking a position on receiving a vaccine. We are not telling people (to) get the vaccine, we are not telling people not to get the vaccine,” Jozef said. NCBC staff ethicist Zalot in a July 30 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

Zalot said the NCBC expanded on its statement after receiving requests from parents of children about to go to college, “including Catholic colleges,” who demanded that students be vaccinated.

“We wrote this very short response for them, but during that time the problem kind of exploded,” he added.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is now responsible for the vast majority of infections reported in the United States, and the number of infections has climbed to a daily rate close to 90,000, a number first reached last November, eight months ago. after the start of the pandemic.

“Catholic executives, health systems and emergency rooms, as well as governments are mandating vaccines, but our position remains the same,” Zalot said.

“As calls for universal immunization as a condition of employment multiply, a lack of housing will result in an individual’s inability to work in their chosen profession, lead to further shortages of healthcare workers essential, while exacerbating existing hesitation and mistrust regarding COVID-19 vaccines, “the CMA statement read.

“The exemption process must be clear and consistent without imposing an undue burden on those requesting an exemption, while protecting the health of all those concerned,” he continued. “As has been the case throughout this pandemic, the procedures followed to minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 must be clearly defined and those in particular who choose not to be vaccinated must agree to respect these provisions. “

“The call for mandates just started going out a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, and we’ve had four, five calls from members,” said Dr. Michael Parker, CMA president who has 2,600 members, in a telephone interview on July 30. with the SNC.

The CMA poll found that unvaccinated limbs were embarrassed by the lack of conscience protection, Parker said. “Even people who had received the vaccine had concerns about the history and ethical testing,” he added. Parker said he was vaccinated.

Millions of Americans have refused to be vaccinated for reasons totally unrelated to conscience or religious concerns.

“They have to weigh their risks against the benefits for themselves and what the consequences are for them, and whether they are willing to tolerate the results,” Parker said.

“Any vaccination should be voluntary and not compulsory, and there is no moral obligation to get vaccinated,” he said. “But they have a certain responsibility to the common good to take measures to prevent the transmission of the disease.”

Medical workers, Parker said, are going beyond the social distancing saying to prevent the transmission of COVID.

“If we are with a COVID positive patient, we wear N-95 masks and glasses and make sure we have negative airflow in the room for those patients if we can and get rid of our equipment. PPE appropriately. way, ”said Parker, an OB-GYN. “We are tested every time we enter the hospital for COVID.”

Between the declaration of the doctrinal congregation of last December and the declarations of the two American Catholic groups in July, the American bishops and academics made known in March their positions on the possibility of receiving the available vaccines.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, chairman of the American Bishops Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the Bishops Committee on Pro life, in a March 2 joint statement, noted that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was made using cell lines derived from abortions, but “given the global suffering this pandemic is causing, we reiterate that getting vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good. “

On March 4, a YouTube video featured Rhoades saying, “There is no moral need to refuse any vaccine, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is morally acceptable to use.” He cited an earlier Vatican statement which “made it clear that all COVID vaccines recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience.”

A group of eight Catholic scholars issued a joint statement on March 5 through the Washington Center for Ethics and Public Policy in which they said: Unborn, can use these vaccines without fear of moral guilt “for l ‘abortion.

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