A Catholic bioethicist has made the case for everyone to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, while holding that the Church needs to play a central role against the widespread adoption of vaccine mandates.

“I beg anyone reading this who is not vaccinated to prayerfully consider getting vaccinated,” Dr. Charlie Camosy, an assistant professor of bioethics at Fordham University, wrote in an Aug. 13 opinion piece at Religion News Service.

“Pope Francis is right, in my view, to say that it is a moral obligation, due in part to the duty you have to protect the lives of others — people like Aaron, one of my best friends growing up, who recently died of this terrible disease,” he said. “His son, my godson, is now without his father. This kind of terrible pain is multiplying across the country as the Delta variant spreads.”

Camosy said that he thinks there are “understandable and coherent moral and religious arguments” to decline the Covid-19 vaccine, although he does not believe these arguments are correct.

“The pharmaceutical companies that have brought the current vaccines to market have used (either in their production or testing) the cloned cells of a baby who was killed via abortion,” said Camosy. “And they obviously did so without her consent.”

Camosy emphasized that Catholic teaching “defends the freedom of conscience and the need for all humans to come to the truth without coercion,” but added that he hopes people come to understand Catholic teaching on vaccinations without having to be coerced, as by a mandate.

Some companies have implemented mandates requiring that their employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. In some states, the government has mandated that employees in certain sectors be vaccinated against COVID-19. And in certain cities, there is a planned “vaccine passport” system that will limit entrance to restaurants and other locations to those who can prove they received the coronavirus vaccine.

Additionally, given the country’s history with performing medical experiments on minority groups, Camosy said that he fully understands why people, particularly Black Americans, may be hesitant about getting the vaccine. Camosy noted that the vaccines themselves are still considered to be experimental….

Rather than coerce people to get vaccinated through mandates, Camosy suggested that “we should also make persuasive appeals to as many people as we possibly can,” and invited people with ethical hesitations to contact him personally.

“Please know that, though I hope to convince you to protect yourself and others by taking the vaccine, I will also defend the sanctuary of your conscience and insist that you are not coerced,” he said.

The above comes from an Aug. 16 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.