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'Not Morally Produced': Catholic Bishops Raise Concern Over COVID-19 Vaccine

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A few Catholic leaders are raising concerns about the ethics of using a COVID-19 vaccine currently on the fast track to release.

The federal Coronavirus Task Force held a briefing for the first time in months on Thursday. Officials said that, once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, 100 million doses will be distributed within 24 hours.

But, a pair of Catholic bishops are urging parishioners to hold off on getting excited.

If the vaccines are made with stem cells or other human material, that could raise some ethical concerns.

"We all want health for ourselves and for others," said Bishop Joseph Brennan, former auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and current Dioceses of Fresno bishop. "We want to promote that also...but never at the expense of the life of another."

Bishop Joesph Strickland from the Catholic Dioceses of Tyler, Texas, is also raising the same concerns.

In a tweet, he wrote the "Moderna vaccine is not morally produced. Unborn children died in abortions and their bodies were used as 'laboratory specimens.' I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine which has been produced immorally."

CBS2/KCAL9 reached out to Moderna to clarify details on the production of their COVID-19 vaccine, but they had not responded by the time of publication.

However, Pfizer — the first drug company to announce a potential vaccine — told us, "there has been no human material nor animal products used in the development of our potential COVID-19 vaccine."

Local Christians and Catholics told the station that they're more concerned with stopping the pandemic than how the vaccine is created.

"I mean, if it saves lives, it works," said local parishioner Jose Argueta. "I don't really think about the other things."

Herbert Herrera, another parishioner, said: "Health and the pandemic. It should be more important than religion."

Still, some say it's strictly a personal decision.

"It's nothing rush into," said Arturo Romero. "I mean, we don't know if it's safe."

The Archdioceses of Los Angeles has not responded to request for comment on guidance for local parishioners. The Dioceses of Orange said its Catholic leaders are still trying to learn more about the vaccine before making any comment.

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