The Washington State Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Care Support COVID-19 Vaccinations
December 12, 2020
The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) affirms that the recently announced COVID-19 vaccines are morally permissible. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) confirms the moral permissibility of the vaccines in this memorandum dated November 20, 2020 from the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. Together with the Catholic Health Care organizations and Catholic Charities of Washington state, we recommend the faithful get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves, loved ones, and the community.
Washington state was the first in the country to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outset of this health emergency, Catholic dioceses, Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Care organizations around the state focused on working together to faithfully carry out our Catholic spiritual, social and health care ministries.
To further this effort, the Catholic Bishops of the WSCC commit to:
▪ Promoting and encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations in collaboration with state and local governments and other entities.
▪ Advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations to ensure that they have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines; and,
▪ Providing regular and accurate information to parishioners and the community in support of morally acceptable, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Some people have concerns about the safety of these vaccines due to the speed of their development and FDA approval. There is also concern about the risk of side effects. It is not uncommon to experience minor side effects from being vaccinated. People may feel temporarily uncomfortable, but the benefits from the vaccine exceed the burden. In addition, the speed at which vaccines have been developed may be due to some degree, on utilizing past scientific advances against coronaviruses.
The Washington Catholic dioceses, Catholic Charities and Catholic health systems will also continue to work with the Governor’s Office, the State Department of Health, and county and local public health agencies. Our collaboration commits to strong outreach to vulnerable populations such as farmworkers, frail and elderly, undocumented individuals and low-wage earners who seek guidance and assistance from our ministries.
Finally, we offer a special thanks to the health care professionals who continue to care for the sick; to essential workers that enable society to continue functioning; for scientists and researchers who brought us to this moment; to teachers and parents struggling to educate children; to workers in ministries finding innovative ways to bring spiritual and corporal resources to congregations; and to everyone who has helped carry the burden of others during this pandemic. We pray for them as we pray for the world.
We still have much work to do, but we now have hope and a path forward rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. We place our trust and confidence in the providence of God.
In the heart of Christ,
Most Rev. Paul D. Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle
Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima
Most Rev. Thomas A. Daly, Bishop of Spokane
Most Rev. Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle
Most Rev. Daniel H. Mueggenborg, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle