Church objections to promising Covid-19 vaccine dismissed by Australia’s deputy chief officer

Religion

Melbourne – The deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, has downplayed concerns from prominent church figures in Australia that some Christians could refuse a Covid-19 vaccine on ethical grounds.

Coatsworth’s defence of the University of Oxford vaccine follows a warning from Catholic archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, that Catholics would be presented with an “ethical dilemma” if the vaccine was proved successful as it relies on cell lines from an electively aborted fetus.

Fisher called on government to “pursue similar arrangements for alternate vaccines that do not raise the same ethical concerns” about the formulation of the vaccine.

The warning, contained in a letter to prime minister Scott Morrison, was also co-signed by the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, and the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Australia, Makarios Griniezakies.

It noted there are 167 Covid-19 vaccines being researched, with several that don’t use fetal cells in their development.

“It is in the best interests of the community that vaccination is widely taken up and this deadly disease defeated, and this will better be achieved if the vaccines available do not create an ethical quandary,” wrote Fisher on Facebook, when explaining his reasons for sending the letter to Morrison.

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