PORTLAND, Maine — UPDATE: on October 5, the FDA released the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
One common reason people cite for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a claim that the shots contain fetal tissue. Maine is seeing wide gaps in COVID-19 vaccination rates: some counties, such as Cumberland have 75% of people with a final dose, while others, like Somerset, have 53% of people with a final dose.
Do COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal tissue?
FALSE, but with context
WHAT WE FOUND
Doctor Lawler and LA County Public Health said the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain fetal cells or tissue.
"No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any aborted fetal cells. However, fetal cell lines – cells grown in a laboratory-based on aborted fetal cells collected generations ago – were used in testing during research and development of the mRNA vaccines, and during production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine," Lawler wrote. "Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from abortions in the 1970s and 1980s. Current fetal cell lines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue. They do not contain any tissue from a fetus."
Lawler, NCBI, and LACPH said fetal cell lines were used in the research and development of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and in the production and manufacturing of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
"In this sense, when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process."