‍Ethics and Technology‍
Human Rights

xxxxxSome standard vaccines without problematic origins have been quietly superseded by newer versions grown on aborted fetal lung tissue cell lines, which causes an ethical dilemma for some since this directly connects vaccines with the ethical issue of abortion. Polio protection is now available in either of two combination vaccines, Pediarix or Pentacel, or as an individual inactivated polio virus vaccine. Pentacel, which is grown on aborted fetal lung tissue, was only recently introduced. People do have a choice. Pediarix in combination with the Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccine gives full protection to our children without being connected to the evil of abortion (Fischer, 2011, p. 3).
xxxxxIn the 1970s, a rubella vaccine not connected with abortion was used in the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) combination vaccine. During this same period, very quietly, a few medical professionals developed and tested a rubella vaccine grown on aborted fetal lung tissue cell lines. In the early 1980s, this new vaccine, MMRII, was introduced and it gradually replaced the original MMR vaccine. By 1984 the original supply had been depleted. Once the original MMR vaccine was unavailable, a moral conflict pitted "significant risk" from rubella against cooperation with the abortion process: Either vaccinate or leave your child unprotected. Ubtil a moral MMR vaccine would again be available, Catholic ethicists resolved the conflict based on three considerations: (1) the duty to avoid passive material cooperation was not obligatory in the case of significant risk to health; (2) that significant risk to health constituted a proportional reason for use, and (3) that there remained a grave responsibility and a moral duty to object, lawfully resist, and demand that alternatives be made available (Fischer, 2011, p. 3).
xxxxxIn 1995, the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine - grown on aborted fetal lung tissue cell line - was introduced in the United States. With no alternative, refusal to vaccinate was once again not obligatory. Since 1996, the hepatitis A vaccine, also grown on aborted fetal lung tissue, has been gradually introduced in the United States. There was initially some concern about the risk versus the benefit of this vaccine. Until recently, it was recommended but not mandatory. In the fall of 2010, many states made it mandatory. Again, there was no alternative, so refusal was not obligatory (Fischer, 2011, p. 3).
xxxxxA more recent story involves the injected, inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which fully replaced the oral polio vaccine in 2000. In the early 1990s, one inactivated poliovirus vaccine was introduced. In 2002, a second inactivated poliovirus vaccine, the 5-in-one combination Pediarix, was introduced. In June 2008, Pentacel appeared. For the first time in the history of aborted fetal lung tissue vaccinations, a parent had the option of choosing the uncompromised, standard polio vaccine in Pediarix used with the Hib vaccine. There was no reason for cooperation with the immorally derived vaccine Pentacel. But shortly, a problem emerged. The United States experienced a shortage of the Hib vaccine which significantly limited the ability of Pediarix as an alternative to Pentacel. We emerged from this shortage in July 2009. Pediarix was again widely available. We had moved from a proportionately serious justification for utilizing a compromised vaccine to a "duty to refuse to use" this same vaccine. When presented with Pentacel, "everyone has the duty to make known their disagreement and to ask that their healthcare system" make the moral option available. Any agreement to cooperate in the use of the immoral polio vaccine in Pentacel now becomes not merely passive material cooperation but and immoral choice (Fischer, 2011, p. 3).

Religious Beliefs

xxxxxSome religious beliefs go against the use of readily available and safe vaccines due to the serum or protein make up; in other words, what the medicine was made from. Those that practice Islamic or Muslim religions believe that most vaccines that are created to prevent meningitis come from pig products. Pig products are considered to be harram, an Arabic term meaning forbidden ("Malaysia to produce," 2007).

xxxxxSome parents believe that vaccines administered to children may be a leading cause of autism. A story coming out of an Associated Press paper reported that some parents are going so far as to claim their religious beliefs go against child vaccination in order to seek religious exemption, even if they do not practice religion. There are twenty-eight states in the US that allow parents to cite religious beliefs in order for them to opt out of vaccinating their children (Chew, 2007).

xxxxxSome believe that science needs religion to be more involved with medicine. Science should request that religion help persuade individuals as to the worthiness of its endeavors. When genetic, stem cell, or DNA research comes to the forefront, many people turn away from science and claim religion does not agree with these types of studies. People react with unknown fears or act out using religion as the reason. If religion could take a stand with science and become an all inspiring vision to those looking to use science to bring about a healthier society, individuals might open up to the ideas of science as a way to cure disease and have a healthier life (Harper, 1999).

Transition Statement:
Stick around to review the relevance of the vaccine technology and the final summary of this study.

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