Are COVID-19 Vaccines
3rd December 2020
COVID-19 vaccines are hitting the headlines. Over 200 are in development worldwide and the UK and EU have ordered doses of a total of eight that look most promising. This week the UK became the first Western country to approve a vaccine for use. It will not be long before people are being vaccinated. But people who recognise the value of unborn human lives have reason to be concerned that COVID-19 vaccines aren’t quite the unambiguous ‘good news’ story they are presented as. In NI Voiceless we are committed to the value of every human individual. We think you deserve to know the facts about COVID-19 vaccines.
The issue concerning pro-life people is that some vaccines are produced using cell lines developed from aborted foetuses. A cell line is a culture of cells grown in a laboratory from living tissues. In particular, two cell lines have been used in creating vaccines against COVID-19. Both were created by Dutch molecular biologist Dr Alex van der Eb (b.1934) at Leiden University. The first is called HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney 293). It was created in 1973 from the kidney of a female foetus that was aborted, probably in 1972. There are no definitive records about that baby and the reasons given for the abortion, but it was probably healthy. The second cell line is called PER.C6. It was created in 1995 from the retina of a healthy 18-week-old foetus aborted in October 1985 for social reasons. These babies were not killed in order to take their tissues, but scientists were standing by to remove a kidney or an eye from the tiny but beautiful dead body while the cells were still fresh.
Foetal cell lines can be used in two ways in bringing vaccines to market. They can be used in the production of the vaccine or it can be produced in a different kind of cell line but then tested on foetal cell lines after production. Of the eight vaccines ordered by the EU and UK, five were either developed in foetal cell lines or tested using them, including the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine that has been approved by the UK. The table that follows, based on data collected by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, summarises the facts about foetal cell line use for these eight vaccines. It also demonstrates that it is possible to make vaccinations against this awful virus without using cell lines. That is what CureVac, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur, and Valneva have done. We congratulate their approach.
It is not our role in NI Voiceless to tell you what this means for you when you decide whether or not to receive a vaccine produced using foetal cell lines. We simply want you to know the facts and encourage you to think carefully about what you believe to be right. We are convinced, however, that the use of these foetal cell lines should come to an end, that governments should only order vaccines from companies that don't use them and, if they won't do that, that they have a duty to give citizens the option only to take a vaccine that has not been developed using foetal cell lines. Sadly, it does not seem that people in the UK or EU will have that choice. We urge all concerned citizens to register their concerns with politicians and to pause to remember the two precious lives that were brutally ended decades ago.