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Baton Rouge Diocese raises concerns regarding J&J vaccine

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BATON ROUGE - As the new single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes its way to Louisiana, the Catholic church is citing moral concerns over the shot. 

On Monday, Bishop Michael Duca of the Baton Rouge Diocese issued a statement marking the Catholic Church's stance on vaccines. Duca encouraged Catholics in Baton Rouge to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines if they are available, but warned against receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to the nature of its production, if patients have a vaccine option.

The statement reads, "I continue to encourage everyone to receive a vaccination, but the new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has some moral concerns we must acknowledge. Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Johnson & Johnson uses a line of stem cells procured from abortions performed over 30 years ago in the production of its vaccine." 

The Archdiocese of New Orleans also spoke out in opposition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the same reason. Both Catholic churches said fellow Catholics should choose a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if they are available, but the church will not condemn individuals who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if it is the only option. 

"Given our present situation and the need to protect ourselves and one another from this virus, my guidance to the faithful of the Diocese of Baton Rouge is to accept as your first choices the vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna, but if for any reasonable circumstance you are only able to receive the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, you should feel free to do so for your safety and for the common good," said Bishop Duca. 

These statements have been released following the news of nearly 38,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that are set to be delivered to hospitals in Louisiana this week. 

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