Russian Church Committee: Vaccines Should Be Voluntary, Developed Without Use of Embryonic Tissue

Originally appeared at: Orthodox Christianity

It is inappropriate to pressure parents into vaccinating their children, and vaccines should be developed without the use of embryonic tissue, Fr. Theodore Lukianov, the Chairman of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Commission on Family Issues and the Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, writes in a new report, according to RIA-Novosti.

Fr. Theodore presented his report at the State Duma’s round table on prospective legislation regarding immunizations.


Speaking to the doctors, scientists, clergy, and state and public representatives present, he proposed legislation to prohibit restrictions on education for unvaccinated children, noting that officials at various levels have suggested that such children should not be allowed to attend school with other children. He also proposed introducing fines for such officials who pressure parents to vaccinate their children.

There are even cases of illegal attempts to bring parents to administrative responsibility for not vaccinating their children. These are serious infringements of basic constitutional rights, Fr. Theodore writes, pointing out that there are no legal justifications for mandating vaccinations. It is a dangerous trend for economic structures to ignore the alternative point of view that exists in society today, he writes.

Thus, the Committee head proposes, legislation should be adopted that guarantees access to children regardless of immune status and makes it impossible to put undue pressure on parents when making medical decisions.

He also called for parents to be provided with information on the risks associated both with vaccinating and not vaccinating their children.

Furthermore, the Russian Church considers it ethically unacceptable to use cell lines derived from human embryonic tissue to develop vaccines, Fr. Theodore writes.

HEK 293, derived from human embryonic kidneys, has become widespread in cell biology, Fr. Theodore notes, but the Russian Church recognizes the embryo as a human and considers abortion to be murder, as detailed in the Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In May, the Holy Synod of the Moldovan Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate also emphasized that, constitutionally speaking, any vaccine must be offered on a voluntary basis.

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