The Irish Bishops’ Council for Healthcare has asked the Departments of Health, North and South of the border, to “actively promote” the development, sourcing, and supply of vaccines which do not have a historical link with abortion.
In a statement supporting the Covid-19 vaccine programme, the Council for Healthcare welcomed the fact that, since the summer, the vast majority of the population in both jurisdictions have received their vaccinations and that booster vaccines are now being administered.
Urging people to support the vaccination programmes, the bishops’ Council said vaccination has demonstrated its effectiveness in limiting infection and in curbing the serious effects of the infection when it occurs.
It has also “helped to ease the restrictions placed on the social and religious life of our communities and to keep hospital beds free for other essential and urgent medical needs,” the bishops said and stressed that anyone who, for reasons of conscience, chooses not to be vaccinated must do their utmost to avoid becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infection.
Expressing its gratitude to all those working on the frontline in hospitals, nursing homes and as carers during the pandemic, the bishops Council said they had contributed significantly to the health and safety of so many and “given us all cause for hope”.
However, the Council for Healthcare also urged Catholics to advocate for the availability of ethically developed vaccines.
“In that way they bear witness that biomedical research should always be conducted in a manner which is consistent with respect for life and for human dignity,” the Council said in its statement.
The bishop’s Council called on the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as individuals to support efforts to provide vaccines for those in the developing world.
“Unless every person around the world has access to vaccines then we will all be vulnerable to Covid-19 for many years to come,” they warned.
Last December, the Irish Bishops published a statement encouraging Catholics to support vaccination. In August, Pope Francis said that getting a Covid vaccine was “an act of love”, and that “getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable”.