Friday, September 2, 2011

Vaccination Religious Exemptions

This is my third blog post of the day. I must be on a blogging roll. Please feel free to scroll down and enjoy some pictures of my new home. I originally intended this post to go on a Catholic Moms website, but no takers so I decided to post it here along with informational links to help Catholic parents to discern the right steps about vaccination.

I recently stumbled upon some Catholic bloggers discussing vaccinations. They were discussing them in the context of abortions so I did a quick Goggle search to clarify what they were saying. It seems that some vaccines warrant a religious exemption.

Some vaccines are made using aborted human fetal lines during production. To clarify, these lines were derived from aborted fetuses from the 1960s and were not part of the initial fetuses. The current lines were cultured from them. This material will not be injected into a child, but rather it’s used to cultivate the vaccines. The vast majority have alternatives that do not use those lines, but the Hepatitis A, Rubella, and Varicella, vaccines have no alternatives at this time.

Some research has revealed that the Church has taken a somewhat neutral position. Officials condemn the use of the fetal lines because of it‘s historical ties to abortion. However, they acknowledge that since there are no other alternative vaccines, it is the parents who should weight the health of their children over the use of the fetal material. They do, however, tell parents that they are under moral obligation to use alternative vaccines when available.

In other words, you can take a religious exemption to the Chicken Pox vaccine, but since it’s not available in any other way, you may still vaccinate your child using that vaccine. If an alternative that does not use the fetal lines becomes available (as in the case of Rabies or DTaP), a parent is obligated to use that version.

In my research about the subject, I also uncovered some exemptions for Hepatitis B and Gardasil since both prevent diseases that are transmitted sexually or through blood. Theoretically a Catholic child would not need these vaccines since they would only be necessary if that child were to go against Church teachings about promiscuity.

Needless to say, I wish someone had told me about this before I vaccinated my child against Hepatitis A, Rubella, and Varicella. I would have liked to make an informed choice. I hope that in writing this article, more parents will learn about the issues with vaccinations and also be able to make an informed choice as well.

Sources: Children of God for Life- includes issued letters from Church authorities, the different types of vaccine alternatives (if available), religious exemptions, etc.
National Catholic Bioethics Center- information about the vaccines in detail and Church teaching on the matter
Catholic Culture- news article with info
Catholic News Service- news article
Catholic News Agency- article about California bill on HPV vaccine access


  1. Do you mind if I share this on my blog? Thanks! :)

  2. Very, very interesting information. The only issue I take with the hepitatis b and gardasil argument is that (1) people, especially young people, make very poorly informed mistakes (esp. when their judgment is not fully formed and they do not have good role models) and it's hard to even determine how "wrong" they understand their actions to be, even if they were baptized Catholic and denying the vaccine, if it resulted in disease, would perhaps amount to delivering a penance for a mortal sin, which only a priest can do and (2) the obvious difficulty is that there is always the threat of rape. But I understand you say theoretically.

  3. Beth- sure. I would love that. I didn't know until someone said something on a forum. It's outdated news, I suppose, but when that information came out I wasn't even married so it wasn't on my mind. I think it needs to be brought up from time to time so that new parents are aware.

    Maria- excellent points especially about rape. I think the latest things I've read are that parents aren't being informed that their child is getting the vaccine, which is something else altogether. If a child were to have a reaction, the parent wouldn't know, which is really really bad.

  4. My prob with gardasil isn't that its for an std... Its not a religious exemption at all (thankfully TX allows other exemptions as well). Its the safety of the thing. All vax can have some side effects, but because that one was so rushed through the chances are much higher and the risks are worse. A close friend of mine lived in a town where 3 girls died shortly after taking it. There's a lawsuit going on in France too. Point being, until its proven safe(r) my children will not get that one.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!