Thank you Randy, I appreciate our previous dialogues about vaccines on this Forum, which helped me develop some of the topics for this article!
It seems we’ve won over one of my family members, who emailed me this after reading the blog post:
Thank you for presenting so much technical knowledge so clearly…I was one of those Moms who was very wary of what was being thrown at our babies at such an early age.
Thank you, BioLogos, for helping publish this piece!
That’s great! You did such a good job writing this article, and it is my first reference for those who have vaccine concerns.
I am very disappointed in the lack of research that is included with your article. You mention that aborted fetal cells are no longer used and you list the lines that were used in past vaccines. I would suggest that you read the following article that lists the NEW cell lines that are used in the COVID vaccine. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/abortion-opponents-protest-covid-19-vaccines-use-fetal-cells
She said “newly aborted”, and the cell lines mentioned in your article are from 1972 and 1985. Neither of those are new. The cells being used today never themselves belonged to an aborted fetus. Those cells died a very long time ago. Decades ago.
Also, would you object to receiving an organ from someone who was killed in a drunk driving accident? That person was essentially murdered by bad choices. Would it be ok to use their organs? Like the aborted fetus cells, the person was not killed in order to supply the organs. The organs were used after an unfortunate death occurred that would have occurred with or without the medical use. The death is wrong and to be mourned on either case.
The good news on the Covid-19 vaccine front… the vaccines mentioned in that article aren’t the only ones that will be available. There are two mRNA vaccines in phase 3 trials that don’t use aborted fetus cell lines in their production. I’m sure one or both of those vaccines will be available in the US by next year.
Is this how you justify the murder of innocent children? Someone getting killed by a drunk driver is a tragedy. It is not premeditated murder. Abortion is premeditated murder. To justify the use of those murdered babies for what you believe to be the “greater good,” makes it even more horrific.
I bet you have items in your home that were produced by enslaved children in sweat shops, many of whom die because of their miserable work conditions. Cheap shoes and electronics aren’t even a “greater good,” and yet most people aren’t outraged over it. We can all point to things in life and say, “You should be more upset about this.” Personally, I don’t think using cell cultures that were derived from aborted fetuses decades ago merit the kind of outrage the anti-vax community directs at them. And it seems hypocritical that this allegedly “pro-life” stance turns a blind eye to the actual mistreatment of children in so many areas of the world, including refugees at our own borders. I probably shouldn’t post this, since it will be construed as “political,” but deciding that disembodied cell cultures in a petri dish should be afforded more dignity than living and breathing humans is beyond comprehensible to me.
Agreed. I believe the Bible says something about straining gnats while swallowing camels.
Indeed. The so-called pro-life stance is often simply pro-birth (if that).
Where did I ever justify the murder of innocent children? I specifically said the death was wrong and should be mourned. I’m absolutely against abortion.
Again, you can choose a Covid-19 vaccine that doesn’t use cell lines from aborted fetuses. What excuse will you use for not getting your vaccine now?
Ok, a man murders his wife - premeditated. She’s an organ donor. Should her organs be used?
Or a man has another murdered in order to claim his wife, pregnant by the murderer. Is that linage tainted?
Oh, you’re good.
Thank you for pointing out that article about Covid-19 vaccine development. To be clear on a couple points: my article was not about covid-19 vaccine development, but rather about current clinically approved childhood vaccines. In addition, the mention of the two cell lines in my article was not meant to be all inclusive, which is why their mention was proceeded by the important qualifier “such as”
Cells lines, such as WI-38 and MRC-5,
As already pointed out by others above, the point still stands that newly aborted fetuses are not used for vaccine development. Those two additional cell lines mentioned in the article you cited have also been propagated in laboratories for many decades, so they are not part of an aborted child. The original cells from the aborted baby are long gone.
Quote from the science article you referenced:
At least five of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines use one of two human fetal cell lines: HEK-293, a kidney cell line widely used in research and industry that comes from a fetus aborted in about 1972; and PER.C6, a proprietary cell line owned by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, developed from retinal cells from an 18-week-old fetus aborted in 1985.
I agree with you that abortion is tragic and human beings should never be exploited. Fortunately, aborted fetuses are not being used for vaccine development.
A separate thread started on this topic. I added these comments there, and thought they could be helpful here, too:
Another way it could help to think about this is to know: It is also possible to make human cell lines from adult stem cells or from surgically resected human cancer tissue. (But note, that it is not possible to take just any type of cell from a human body and make a cell line. The types of cells that can be used to generate cell lines, cancer or stem cells, have particular properties that enable them to continue growing and dividing)
When scientists take cells from an adult skin, blood or cancer and turn them into a cell line, we do not say that those cells are still the person that they came from. Those cells do not have a soul or personhood. They are just cells that have been transformed in such a way that they continue to divide and can be continually cultured under special conditions in the laboratory. We have no ethical challenges using them.
Likewise with the fetal-derived cell lines. It is a tragedy that the abortion happened. However, that baby, that person, died decades ago. I believe that their soul is in heaven with Jesus now. The cells derived from the deceased baby were taken from one of the baby’s tissues after the baby died. Now those cells have been cultured under special conditions in the laboratory for decades. The ethical issue that people need to grapple with is the abortion, not the propagation of individual cells derived from individual tissues (like the human embryonic kidney, HEK cell line used in research laboratories). In my opinion, getting vaccinated does not make someone complicit in an elective abortion that happened decades ago.
I recently heard a concern expressed that the Pfizer vaccine could trigger infertility in young women. A brief look at a seemingly responsible news source indicates that the source of this concern is a Facebook post from conspiracy-mongering sources - so … that does immediately show a non-reputable context for the origin of the concern.
At the same time, Pfizer’s lack of specific response about this is decidedly a non-helpful thing to come back with to help mollify concerns. “There is no evidence of this” - even if accepted as 100% true, is hardly reassuring when there has been no opportunity for any longitudinal or long-term studies to see if this actually could be the case in the short time the vaccine trials have had.
Does anybody here have anything more reassuring than “there is no evidence for this” that I can pass along? Perhaps something like “no vaccines have ever been known to do this before?” or “almost never except in these x,y,z known cases which will not be a concern for this vaccine?” I think she would like something more than “well … it hasn’t been seen yet” when she already knows good and well that it wouldn’t be yet in the short time they’ve had to watch effects on recipients. Even just the reassurance that “there is no plausible reason for this vaccine to do this” would be a stronger reassurrance than “we just haven’t seen it yet.” Would at least that much be true? She isn’t an anti-vaxxer. But I think she has a very understandable concern that needs to be addressed.
It looks like the original post referred to a specific protein important for placental formation, and it does not contain it.
Plus, if I recall correctly, one of the reasons these seem so low-risk are that the mRNA doesn’t stay in your body more than a few hours.
After the piece of the spike protein is made, the cell breaks down the mRNA strand and disposes of them using enzymes in the cell. It is important to note that the mRNA strand never enters the cell’s nucleus or affects genetic material.
Thank you so much for that, Hillary! This is very helpful and I’ll pass the link on to her as well!
This article included much more information that is reassuring rather than just the “haven’t seen it yet” tone some others were hearing.
I googled this morning and it looks like a bunch of outlets took to debunking it as of yesterday!