By Lisa Zengarini
The Catholic bishops of New Zealand are urging Catholics and all citizens in the Country to get vaccinated against Covid-19 saying, with Pope Francis, that it is a moral duty, because it is about each one’s life and the lives of others.
NZ Catholic Bishops Conference President, Cardinal John Dew, reminds that the Pope has made it clear there is no religious reason to reject vaccination. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has recently stated that it is “morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process” when “ethically irreproachable vaccines are not available”, in the light of the "grave danger" of spreading COVID-19. A position which was endorsed by Pope Francis on December 17.
'Reject false information'
Cardinal Dew explains the bishops took their advice about vaccines from reputable doctors, scientists and their own bioethics agency, the Nathaniel Centre. On this basis, he says bishops “reject the false information circulating on the internet and elsewhere that claims vaccines should not be used. Vaccines work, and they protect against a wide range of illnesses. Because of vaccines, once-universal diseases such as smallpox have been wiped out, saving countless lives”, the Archbishop of Wellington reiterates. “To protect everyone against a disease, it is vital that most people in a country be vaccinated”, he adds, reminding that the 2019-20 New Zealand measles epidemic “happened because only about 80 per cent of the population were vaccinated. As a result, the disease was carried from Auckland to Samoa where more than 80 people died, most of them babies and children”.
Cardinal Dew therefore stresses that: “Everyone, including Catholics, has a moral responsibility to protect themselves and others by getting a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as they become eligible for it under the Government’s planned vaccine programme”.
New Zealand has recorded a total 2.228 cases with 25 deaths.