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OSF HealthCare Will Inform Patients Before Administering J&J Vaccine, Citing Moral Concerns

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The first shipments of the vaccine arrived at the hospital this morning.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The first shipments of the vaccine arrived at the hospital this morning.

At this point in the pandemic, OSF HealthCare says it will not turn away the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine "if it's the only option" available for patients.

This comes after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday recommended the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over J&J if a patient has another option, citing moral concerns about the J&J vaccine using an abortion-derived cell line in its development, testing, and production.

Fetal cells or tissue aren't used in the vaccine itself, however.

The other vaccines on the market used the cell lines in testing, but not production. But unlike the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, the J&J vaccine only requires a single dose, not two.

OSF HealthCare is part of a Catholic health care system. In a statement, OSF said it will inform patients which vaccine they're receiving, and will give them a choice on whether or not to accept it.

Quoting the USCCB statement, OSF HealthCare said it is "morally acceptable" to receive any of the vaccines with a clear conscience if there isn't another choice available.

Illinois is shipping more than 90% of its initial expected wave of 83,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to the state's mass vaccination sites.

The Peoria area doesn't have one of those. Instead, the Peoria City/County Health Department largely routes its vaccine allocation through OSF HealthCare, UnityPoint Health, and Heartland Health Services for distribution. More than 13.3% of the county's population is fully vaccinated.

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Copyright 2021 WCBU

Tim Shelley is the Assignment Editor and Digital Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.