The public finally has an idea who will get the first coronavirus vaccine shots when they become available. A faith-based medical group likes the plan, but is also voicing hope that the vaccines are being produced without the use of cell lines from aborted babies.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an influential government advisory panel, voted 13-1 this week to recommend frontline health care workers and nursing home residents be at the front of the line for a coronavirus vaccine. Doses are expected to be very limited, at least early on in the distribution phase.
Dr. Jeff Barrows with Christian Medical & Dental Associations is pleased with the decision.
"I do recognize that the reason that the vote at the FDA panel was 13-to-1," Barrows tells One News Now. "There is some concern that since the elderly population in these long-term facilities may not have the same type of immune response, there was a little concern that maybe instead of giving the vaccine to the residents that they instead give the vaccine to the workers at the long-term facilities.
"But otherwise, I think the decision to give the vaccine first to the frontline health care personnel is smart; it makes a lot of sense."
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be among the first ones available. Barrows points out, however, that most of the public may not realize that neither Pfizer nor Moderna has released any scientific data from their research.
"All of the information that we're getting from them is through press releases," he notes, "so we are depending that the companies are being accurate in what they're saying. I think that's a fairly good assumption; and so as long as what they are saying is going to be borne out by the release of the scientific data, I think we're on a good path."
Yesterday CMDA joined with several physician groups in demanding the vaccines being developed do not use cell lines derived from aborted babies for their production. The joint statement calls for research going forward to focus on using cell lines that don't violate what the groups describe as "this basic ethical and moral standard."
"Over the past decades, more than 50 viral vaccines have been approved using an attenuated or inactivated vaccine. Many of these vaccines have not utilized abortion-derived fetal cell lines for their production," says the statement. "These and other ethical approaches provide encouragement for the future, where no vaccine will violate the dignity of human life in their production."
Barrows says while CMDA looks forward to the release of the FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines, it asks that companies "recognize that exploiting the unborn for future vaccine development is a violation of basic human rights."
CMDA joined in the statement with the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Catholic Medical Association.