Vaccines – safety, ethics and the bigger picture

COVID-19 Vaccine
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As we continue to hurtle through the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines are on everyone’s minds. Millions of UK people have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and Christians are asking more questions than ever about the safety and ethics of these vaccines.

These are difficult and contentious issues, particularly for the vast majority of us who aren’t doctors and don’t have postgraduate degrees in biology, theology or ethics.

Below, we’ve provided links to many Christian responses to these questions to help you be as informed as possible. We’ve also summarised the views that are held.

Safety – are the vaccines dangerous?

On the safety of the vaccines, there is little dispute among Christian doctors, scientists and ethicists. Some concerns – e.g. that the vaccines will alter your DNA – are simply false or, at best, misleading. Other fears – e.g. that tests may have been rushed – are more reasonable but, to date, not backed up by evidence.

By and large, Christian medical experts – many of whom have stood against the tide on contentious issues like abortion and euthanasia – agree with the scientific consensus that the vaccines are fundamentally safe and that the risks of Covid-19 are considerably greater than the vaccine.

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Ethics – are the vaccines moral?

Safety isn’t the only concern. Many Christians have raised questions about the use of cells deriving from an abortion nearly fifty years ago. These are called HEK 293 cells, which have been used in production and/or testing of all of the Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK.

Use of these cell lines is not new – many previous vaccines and even medications have used these or similar cells in their production or testing. But just because most of us have unthinkingly benefited from these treatments in the past doesn’t mean we should ignore concerns now. Is the coronavirus waking us up to previous and ongoing moral compromises? Or are these treatments morally acceptable?

Christians are more split on this issue. The majority of Christian medics and ethicists lean towards accepting the vaccine. But there are faithful, informed Christians who believe that taking the vaccine wrongly benefits from past evil, participates in evil now, or encourages further evil through more abortion and experimentation. Their views are well worth considering.

Many pixels are being spilt on this issue – below we’ve linked to some of the most helpful articles from either side.

Christian Concern is not advocating for or against taking the vaccine – we believe it’s a matter of individual conscience. We ask that you make your decision with full knowledge of the facts and arguments.

More favourable to vaccines

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