Re: Covid-19: US Catholics split after bishops’ conference recommends against Johnson and Johnson vaccine
As a GP, I fully support the need for vaccination in our current crisis situation with COVID-19 virus, but would like to raise concerns about the vaccine take up and roll-out among some vulnerable people I have been dealing with.
I have met many people who have been disturbed to learn, after doing their own research, that the vaccines commonly available have been developed and tested (AstraZeneca & Johnson and Johnson), or tested only (Pfizer/BioNTech & Moderna) using the cell lines of aborted babies . This information has not been publicised, and this very silence has generated mistrust among this group of people. I am not sure how informed consent can be given when there is this apparently hidden, unethically-dubious source of the vaccine?
This is in contrast to that provided for those who support animal rights or are vegan, as there is a statement: ‘The coronavirus vaccines do not contain products of animal origin’ .
Nowhere on the nhsinform site, nor on the govuk information sites, have I been able to find information on the use of aborted foetal cell lines  .
This demonstrates a lack of transparency, and is very upsetting for those who feel they cannot, following their conscience be immunised with vaccines ‘tainted’ with abortion. This can easily become a scandal, which I have witnessed evolving into suspicions, conspiracy theories which feed into the narrative of the anti-vaccine lobby. This is a shame, as it will leave very many vulnerable people exposed.
If we want to increase the vaccination rate, it is essential that fully ethically derived vaccines are made available and recipients are allowed a choice. We need to support the development and distribution of products not manufactured nor tested on aborted foetal cell lines.
We cannot regulate against the anti-vaxxers, if this would violate their conscience. This would be even more concerning if Health Care workers should be mandated to receive the vaccine. I hope that people should be given the choice of vaccines sourced ethically as soon as this becomes possible.
Anne Williams, GP Glasgow, Director Scottish Council on Human Bioethics
 Prentice, D., September 30, 2020. COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates and Abortion-Derived Cell Lines, Updated March 3, 2021. https://lozierinstitute.org/update-covid-19-vaccine-candidates-and-abort... [Accessed 11/03/21]
 COVID-19 vaccine The vaccines The vaccines used to protect against coronavirus, nhs inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/the-vaccines/the-vaccines-us... [Accessed 10/03/21]
 The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, nhs inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine/ [Accessed 10/03/21] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer... [Accessed 10/03/21]
 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-... [Accessed 10/03/21]
Competing interests: No competing interests