Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Fetal Cell Lines 4/20/21
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Los Angeles County
COVID-19 VACCINE AND FETAL CELL LINES
In various stages of vaccine development and manufacturing, some of the COVID-19 vaccines used cells
originally isolated from fetal tissue (often referred to as fetal cells), some of which were originally derived
from an aborted fetus. The use of fetal cell lines is a very sensitive and important topic within some faith
communities and among individuals with concerns about the ethics of using materials derived in this
It is crucial for everyone to have all of the appropriate information to make a fully informed decision
regarding COVID-19 vaccination. For those with questions or concerns about the use of fetal cell lines in
vaccine development, please view the information presented in this handout and keep the following
considerations in mind when making your vaccine decision:
• For us to break the chain of disease transmission and protect our community from COVID-19, we
will need the vast majority of the public to get vaccinated against the virus.
• Vaccinating not only protects you, but may also protect your family, friends, and those in our
community most vulnerable to severe disease from COVID-19.
• The risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination will vary from person to person, and individuals
may want to consider discussing this with their own healthcare provider.
• Several religious and bioethics groups have reviewed and commented on the ethical
considerations of receiving the current COVID-19 vaccines. Many of those considerations are
• While vaccine supply remains limited, you may not be given a choice on which COVID-19 vaccine
you can receive.
Individuals may want to consider having a personal conversation with their faith leader or
someone experienced in bioethics.
Why are fetal cells used to make vaccines?
Historical fetal cell lines were derived in the 1960’s and 1970’s from two electi