Vatican COVID-19 commission promotes vaccine access for the vulnerable

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The Vatican's COVID-19 commission said Tuesday it is working to help promote fair access to the coronavirus vaccine, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

In a note published Dec. 29, the commission, which was formed at Pope Francis' request in April, stated its six objectives in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

These objectives will serve as guidelines for the commission's work, with the general intention of obtaining "a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 so that treatment is available to all, with a particular concern for the most vulnerable…"

The head of the commission, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said in a press release Dec. 29 that the members "are grateful to the scientific community for developing the vaccine in record time. It is now up to us to ensure that it is available to all, especially the most vulnerable. It is a matter of justice. This is the time to show we are one human family."

Commission member and Vatican official Fr. Augusto Zampini said "the way in which vaccines are deployed – where, to whom, and for how much – is the first step for global leaders to take in committing to fairness and justice as the principles for building a better post-Covid world."

The commission plans to carry out an ethical-scientific evaluation of the "vaccine quality, methodology and pricing;" to work with local Churches and other Church groups to prepare for the vaccine; to collaborate with secular organizations in the global vaccine administration; to deepen the "understanding and commitment of the Church in protecting and promoting the God-given dignity of all;" and "leading by example" in the equitable distribution of the vaccine and other treatments.

In the Dec. 29 document, the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, together with the Pontifical Academy for Life, reiterated Pope Francis' call that the vaccine be made available to everyone to avoid injustice.

The document also referenced a Dec. 21 note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the morality of receiving certain COVID-19 vaccines.

In that note, the CDF said "it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process" when "ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available."

The Vatican coronavirus commission said in its document that it considers it important that "a responsible decision" be taken with regard to undergoing vaccination, and emphasized "the relationship between personal health and public health."

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