Helping patients with ethical concerns about COVID-19 vaccines in light of fetal cell lines used in some COVID-19 vaccines.


Many persons with religious convictions report hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccines, in part due to ethical concerns that fetal cell lines are used in the development of certain vaccines. The issue of abortion is contentious and, given the potential impact on COVID-19 vaccination, it is important for clinicians to be aware of this issue, whatever their personal beliefs. I provide four responses that clinicians may offer their patients: 1) Ethical analyses of moral complicity and COVID vaccines. 2) Altruism and protecting others from a virus that is often transmitted while asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. 3) Religious texts and many religious leaders support prevention and, therefore, vaccination. 4) Administration of vaccines not developed in fetal cell lines. Although I wish for all my patients to be vaccinated, I respect their autonomy to make the choice to be or not to be vaccinated and understand that many have a deep regard for fetal life.

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