* The COVID-19 vaccines being provided in NI - Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca - do not contain fetal cells.
* Some anti-abortion campaigners are refusing to take these vaccines. It is certainly not the case that all faith leaders or anti-abortion advocates share this position.
The links below illustrate this point:
* Some anti-abortion campaigners are calling for alternative vaccines to be made available in NI. However, the NI authorities do not make such decisions. Approvals of medicines and vaccines in the UK are the responsibility of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). It is the appropriate regulatory body and its expertise is recognised internationally. The MHRA quite properly follows its own established procedures for assessing the safety and effectiveness of proposed new vaccines.
These are not decisions for politicians, NI departments or any NI authority.
* Any link between any vaccine development and abortions is incidental and remote. It has involved the use of cell lines grown in labs, having been replicated from fetal cells obtained decades earlier.
* Other commonly used vaccines have also benefited from this lab research, including vaccines that our health service has been actively promoting for many years.
* These cell lines have also been widely used in cancer research.
* These cell lines can survive indefinitely in the laboratory, and in their current form have only a very remote link to the original cells. Their continued use in relation to vaccines and cancer research does not lead to a demand for more fetal tissue.
* The reality is that without the deployment of the current COVID-19 vaccines in Northern Ireland many more people would have lost their lives. Many more people would also have suffered serious illness and required hospital care in respiratory wards and intensive care units. And many more people would now be suffering from long Covid, with all the implications that has for physical and mental well-being. Our health service would in all likelihood have collapsed fully under the pressures, and staff would have been subjected to the most appalling trauma.
* If large sections of our population had decided to wait indefinitely to get vaccinated until a preferred alternative vaccine had become available, the impact of the pandemic here would have been much more severe. And it has already been very severe.
* Vaccines save lives. Supporting and encouraging vaccination is a pro-life position.
1. The Charlotte Lozier Institute, an American pro-life organization, has been cited by people in NI who object to current Covid vaccines. The Charlotte Lozier Institute has included the Pfizer and Modern vaccines in a table of “Ethically Uncontroversial CoV-19 Vaccine Programs”.
A further Charlotte Lozier Institute published table confirms that Pfizer and Moderna did not use fetal derived cells during design and development or production of their vaccines.
2. Further information is available from:
- Minister announces launch of HSC Raising a Concern in the Public Interest (Whistleblowing) Framework and Model Policy 01 March 2024
- Industrial action – significant disruption to planned services 01 March 2024
- Minister hails progress in community perinatal mental health services 01 March 2024
- Extension to the Terms of Appointment of Three Health and Social Care Trust Non-Executive (Finance) Directors 01 March 2024