ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The St. Louis Archdiocese released a statement Tuesday encouraging followers to "examine the moral and ethical concerns" around the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, saying that Catholics should avoid that particular dose if alternatives are available. According to the church, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved by the FDA for emergency use Saturday, may be be "morally compromised."
"A cell line derived from an aborted child seems to have been used in the development and production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," the Archdiocese said.
The announcement comes as both Missouri and Illinois are set to roll out the J&J vaccine beginning Wednesday. Missouri expects 50,000 doses to go out to distribution centers, and Illinois is expecting more than 100,000 doses to be deployed. Nearly four million doses are expected to go out nationwide.
While the church said Catholics should not abstain from getting vaccinated, they did stress that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are more acceptable according to the tenets of their faith.
"As some Catholics may face a situation in which they are only offered the choice of the Johnson & Johnson inoculation, this should not prevent Catholics from getting vaccinated," the release said. "As the bishops of Missouri have previously stated, Catholics may in good conscience utilize vaccines, even those derived in an unethical manner, in order to protect themselves, as well as to avoid the serious risk to vulnerable persons and to society as a whole resulting from remaining unvaccinated."
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Saturday. Nearly 4 million doses of the one-shot vaccine are now being shipped across the U.S. Some states expect to begin injections Tuesday, but Illinois will begin Wednesday.