Religious leaders fear ‘ethically tainted’ vaccine

A scientist checks COVID-19 vaccine vials at the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility in Oxford, England, in April (CNS/Sean Elias, handout via Reuters)

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and two other heads of churches have written to the Prime Minister with concerns a COVID-19 vaccine will be “ethically tainted” by aborted foetal cells. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Archbishop Fisher, Sydney Anglican Archbishop Dr Glenn Davies and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios raised concerns about the deal with AstraZeneca that would ensure Australians would be among the first in the world to receive the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine if human trials are successful.

They are concerned with the ethics of using foetal cells in a potential coronavirus vaccine and asked the Government to pursue similar arrangements for alternate vaccines that are not “morally compromised”.

The letter had three demands of the Government: That the Oxford vaccine not be made mandatory, that people who decline it for religious beliefs not be punished, and that the government ensure a different “ethically uncontroversial” vaccine also be made available.

They stated the churches are not anti-vaccination, but pray for a vaccine that is not ethically tainted may be found.

Monash University head of microbiology Professor Stephen Turner said human embryonic kidney 293 cells – which are being used in Oxford’s vaccine research – had been widely used in cell biology research for decades.

The cell line was originally derived from cells grown in tissue culture taken from an aborted female baby.


Religious leaders fear ‘ethically tainted’ vaccine (Sydney Morning Herald)


Archbishop Fisher OP: Let’s not create an ethical dilemma (The Catholic Weekly)

Archbishops of Anglican, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches pen letter to Scott Morrison about ‘ethical concerns’ of coronavirus vaccine (

Australian official dismisses Catholic bishop’s objections to Covid-19 vaccine (The Guardian)

Oxford University coronavirus vaccine has ‘ethical concerns’, Sydney Archbishops warn followers (ABC News

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