‘He should leave medicine to the physicians,’ Medical experts fear fall-out from Archbishop vaccine statement

Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 8:53 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The newly-approved single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is headed to Louisiana, about 37,900 doses, but the Archbishop of New Orleans advises practicing Catholics to turn down the single-dose vaccine if they can.

“We’ve had one and a half million deaths from covid in the world. And anybody who comes out and says, avoid this vaccine. That is the mistake,” said Dr. Brobson Lutz.

“This is a really good vaccine don’t, don’t, don’t pass it up,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter. In the statement, the Archbishop of New Orleans advises practicing Catholics that “the latest vaccine from Johnson and Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing.”

More: Archdiocese calls J&J vaccine ‘morally corrupt’ for use of abortion cells

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the state health department explained these cells are decades old, primarily used in the production of the J&J vaccine, and have been used in countless other vaccines and medicines.

“It’s a very common technique that’s used. Typically, in these type of vaccines because when you do it a vaccine like this, is you attenuated, or you render it incapable of replicating so that there’s no way that the vaccine itself is going to replicate inside your body. When you do that you have to help it grow when you are making it when you’re producing it. And that is where these stem cells can use… it’s tissue that was derived in 1985, nothing new,” said Kanter.

In December, the Vatican released guidance that COVID-19 vaccines are “morally acceptable.” Vatican employees who refuse to get a coronavirus shot without a valid medical reason risk being fired.

More: Anti-vac at the Vatican? You might lose your job

Kanter says they viewed that as inclusive of the J&J vaccine, as it was still undergoing testing along with other vaccines at that time.

“This is how we get out, how we protect ourselves, how we protect our families as a gift from God. I mean, this is how we get out of this pandemic. We got to make sure we utilize it to the maximum potential,” said Kanter.

Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Brobson Lutz says in the end the vaccines are about saving lives, fearing the words of a Catholic leader may cost some New Orleanians dearly.

“Faith statements like this are filled with vaccine hesitancy. I think they will it may well keep some people from getting any vaccine and increase the deaths from the covid. I think it is a terrible, terrible mistake for the church to get involved… the Archbishop has enough problems with its bankruptcy and with his pedophile priests, he should leave medicine to the physicians,” said Lutz.

The United States Conference of Catholic bishops have not yet released a statement on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but the Archdiocese says they directly consulted with the National Catholic Bioethics center before releasing today’s statement.

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