Catholic leaders raise concerns about J&J vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is being shipped across the country, but its morality is now in question.

In Kent County, the health department is expected to receive a shipment of around 4,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine later this week. 

Mary Wisinski, the immunization supervisor at the Kent County Health Department, welcomes the pending arrival of the vaccine. 

“I’m very excited to see this product because it will add another tool in our toolbox,” Wisinski said.

The J&J vaccine, which is produced with abortion-derived cell lines, is raising concerns in the Catholic community. 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is telling its parishioners avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids is expected to make an announcement regarding the vaccine this week. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement saying people should choose the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if they have a choice. 

Wisinski says that’s a problem. 

“Currently with our allocation, supply of vaccine, they’re not going to come to this clinic (and expect) I have three choices, which one would you like — that’s not going to be an option,” Wisinski said. 

Wisinski understands the conference’s concerns but in her opinion, getting any vaccine, regardless of which company makes it, should be the main concern for people. 

“Most religious leaders have come out with positions of pro vaccine,” Wisinski said. “Obviously as Catholics, it’d be great if they could be made in a different manner, (but) it’s not possible right now.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot and can be stored easier than Pfizer’s or Moderna’s. 

“What that may allow us to do is have more health care providers help us get vaccines in arms,” Wisinski said. “I’m thinking of pharmacies, I’m thinking of adult primary care providers — doctor’s offices may not have a freezer but may have a fridge.”

“With more health care providers helping us get more vaccines, we can reach herd immunity quicker and prevent viruses from mutating,” Wisinski added.   

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