In the wake of federal vaccine mandates in the U.S., debate has erupted over the waves of fire fighters,police staff, and other workers who have applied for religious exemptions to getting their COVID-19 shots. The number of applications is likely to spike as the January 4 vaccination deadline nears for large private businesses and some healthcare facilities. And one common reason people give for religious exemptions is the link between vaccines and human fetal cells.
It’s true that such cells have been used either in the testing or development and production of COVID-19 vaccines. The cells are grown in a laboratory and were derived from a few elective abortions performed more than three decades ago. These same cell lines are also used to test and advance our understanding of several routine drugs, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin, and they continue to be used for treatment research in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and hypertension.