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Catholics and anti-abortion groups across the state are up in arms about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Rumors started spreading that the vaccine has stem cells from aborted fetuses in the vaccine. This week, Michigan Republicans slipped a requirement deep in the state's allocation bill stating all people receiving the J&J vaccine must be told it's made from aborted fetuses.
Michigan Democrats blasted the new requirement, saying it turned the vaccine effort into politics. They've also accused Michigan Republicans of scaring people out of getting the vaccine.
And the Democrats are right. At best, the new requirement is misleading and could potentially slow down the vaccine effort. The vaccine process has nothing to do with what we're thinking of when we hear statements like these.
Here is why the required statements are misleading
When you hear the vaccine used stem cells from aborted fetuses, it makes you think the company used fresh fetal tissue. In Michigan, a woman can give written consent to donate her dead fetus for embryotic research. Anyone hearing the required statement would immediately think their vaccine came from a recently aborted embryo. Except that's not the case.
Healthline explains the process. The vaccine has lab-grown fetal cell lines in it, not fetal tissue. The lines came from abortions in the 70s and 80s and grown for decades. The cells used in the J&J vaccine are thousands of generations old at this point and don't have any original tissue from the 70s.
Nebraska Medicine states that these cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original tissue. Scientists didn't take cell from recent abortions.
Johnson and Johnson aren't doing anything new
According to Nebraska Medicine, it's common for vaccine makers to use fetal cell lines with their vaccines,. Many viral vaccines use fetal cell lines to help create vaccines we use today. Cell lines have been used for decades to make many of the medicines we have today.
Even Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines in testing their vaccines! They didn't use the lines to make the vaccine, but they did use them to confirm its effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus.
Even Trump went through cell-line treatment when he tested positive for COVID-19! Donald Trump went through Regeneron's antibody treatment against COVID-19. That also used fetal cell lines to create his antibody cocktail.
The Catholic Church allows the Johnson and Johnson vaccine if there is no other alternative to it
According to the United States of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic church prefers its patrons take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to protect themselves against COVID-19. However, if Pfizer and Moderna aren't available in your area, then you can take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The church wants to point out that it's not an obligation to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but voluntary. If you don't want to get vaccinated because of its roots, then you will need to take every precaution necessary to keep from spreading the disease to others. They also recommend you always ask for alternatives before choosing to take the J&J vaccine.
Don't let misleading language keep you from getting vaccinated
There is no fetal tissue in the Johnson and Johnso vaccine. The cell lines used to make the vaccines are decades old and have nothing to do with the original cells. Misleading language like this does a better job of slowing down vaccine efforts and scaring people out of getting vaccinated.
The technology used to make the vaccines is nothing new. Scientists have been using lab-grown fetal cell lines for decades. We wouldn't have a lot of the vaccines we have today without them. It's fascinating what science can do for us in the twenty-first century!