The Catholic Church in England and Wales has issued statement dispelling rumours that getting a Covid vaccine would be in conflict with religious doctrine.

In a statement published on Thursday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that the Church supports the use of vaccines against Covid-19. 

In the Covid-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine.

The statement follows a series of false claims on Facebook that the AstraZeneca vaccine contains tissues from an aborted human foetus. 

The vaccine itself does not contain such tissue, although a cell strain obtained from a foetus in the 1970s was used by the pharmaceutical giant to propagate the virus for the vaccine. 

The bishops conclude that there is sufficient “moral distance” between the administration of the vaccine and “original wrongful action.” 

“Each of us has a duty to protect others from infection with its danger of serious illness, and for some, death. A vaccine is the most effective way to achieve this unless one decides to self-isolate,” the statement reads. 

Stopping short of urging people to be vaccinated, the bishops contend that each Catholic must educate themselves and decide what to do. 

The statement comes as the UK prepares for mass vaccine rollout next week after it was announced that the Pfizer jab was approved by British regulators on Wednesday.