April 5, 2021 — Operation Warp Speed has resulted in the unprecedented development of vaccines to the COVID-19 virus at a speed never seen before, and we are making dramatic progress in the fight against this dreadful disease. We are now rapidly approaching "herd immunity," which will allow so many lives to be saved and a gradual return to normalcy. There are two ways to this herd immunity situation. One way is to become infected. Sadly, achieving this type of immunity has cost over 500,000 lives in the US and 2.75 million worldwide. The other way is to be immunized. The Warp Speed immunizations that are now in use offer better immune protection than what is acquired by surviving the disease. Immunizations have allowed us to defeat smallpox, polio, tetanus, rubella, and so many other terrible and deadly diseases. The combination of infection survival and immunization will eventually lead to herd immunity.
However, of great concern to pro-life advocates, it has become evident that a cell line used in the research and production of these vaccines was derived 35 years ago from eye cells of an 18 week-old fetus, aborted electively for "social reasons." While this cell line, after just a few divisions in cell culture over three decades ago, was altered to a non-human cell type, and the current cell line used in these vaccines does not contain human fetal cells, still, the original development of this line is disturbing.
The cell line in question has been used for over three decades to test the efficacy of some vaccines. In a few, the cells have been included in the vaccine itself. The makers of the COVID vaccines emphasize there are currently no human fetal cells in the line used in the investigation or production of their vaccines.
The two companies that have chosen to use the cell lines derived originally from cells of the aborted fetus in the production of their vaccines are Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is currently now in use, and the AstraZeneca vaccine may soon be available. The ethically manufactured vaccines are produced by Moderna and Pfizer. Neither use the cell line in their vaccine productions. However, all four companies used the cell line in laboratory evaluation for effectiveness. We commend Moderna and Pfizer for not using the cell line for the actual production of their vaccines. There are no human fetal cells of any sort in those two vaccines. Many lives have already been saved through the use of these vaccinations.
Still, it remains troubling that these companies — and others in the medical, cosmetic, and food industries—have in some manner used cell lines derived originally from an aborted human fetus in their research and development. There are now other options for developing a cell line that do not utilize aborted fetal tissue. Examples include the use of non-human animal tissue, or tissue derived from post-delivery human cord blood or placental tissue. Unfortunately, in the face of this terrible virus which was killing literally thousands of Americans daily, speed was of the essence. For that reason, the labs fell back on the proven and available cell line already in use for decades. Time simply did not allow the research needed to develop a new cell line when each day of delay would result in thousands of deaths.
That being said, from this point forward, we and the ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute, and all who are pro-life, must demand that the researchers and the producers of vaccines put every possible effort into developing alternative cell lines that do not depend in any way on the use of human fetal tissue.
We urge you to educate yourself on the relevant issues associated with the COVID-19 vaccines. The Charlotte Lozier Institute has compiled a number of helpful online resources.
Regardless of the challenges we face, we must hold fast to the inherent and immeasurable value of all human life. At the same time, we give thanks to God for President Trump's leadership in launching Operation Warp Speed and the many gifted people within our medical and science communities who have worked tirelessly to help the world overcome this crisis. It is a battle we must all continue to fight together. As we seek to protect humankind and eradicate this COVID-19 virus, may we always do so in a manner that honors God and uplifts the sanctity of all life.
A joint statement issued by The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute—James Dobson Ph.D., Roy Stringfellow, M.D., and Joe Mcllhaney, M.D.