Recently, a South Carolina newspaper published an article entitled, “Who is refusing COVID vaccines in SC—and why? Here’s what we found.” A trio of reporters detail numerous reasons: distrust of the government; an “I’m healthy enough” attitude; waiting a bit longer to let others be the “bleeding edge”; and wariness of the rollout. But they didn’t mention moral objections. 

There is a split opinion in the Catholic Church about the morality of the vaccines currently in use. Many Catholic scholars and moral ethicists, including leading voices like Professor Robert George, have stated that the connection of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to abortion is so remote as to be acceptable. But some Catholics, such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider, reject this argument and argue that it’s immoral to take abortion-tainted vaccines. Other Catholics argue that it might be morally permissible to receive these vaccines, but it would be a better prophetic witness to refuse them and wait for completely ethical alternatives. But even Catholics who believe it is morally acceptable to receive the current vaccines acknowledge that a completely abortion-free option is the ideal.

So, what is the status of these ethical vaccine choices? There are three possibilities currently in development, from Inovio, Sanofi, and Novavax.

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