Ethics Health Videos

The Kitchen Table 15 – The Ethics of a Vaccine

This weeks Kitchen Table looks at the ethics of how we get a vaccine.

Steve also had a great article on the subject –

The Kitchen Table 14 – Education – A System in Crisis?




  1. My local branch of Marks and Spencer for a long time had a notice in their window stating that their flowers were ‘ethically souerced’, whatever that meant. It is perhaps a sign of our mixed-up world that the flowers we buy must be ethically-sourced but many do not care in the least how our vaccines are ‘sourced’. For so much nowadays, the end does not justify the means but this often refers to things of lesser importance whereas the idea is completely thrown overboard on an important issue such as the one discussed in this video.
    Perhaps another way of looking at the issue is to ask whether or not we could use the results of Nazi research on concentration camp inmates in order to save lives. Suppose the research led to some new vaccine that would save millions of lives. How many people would be comfortable using it, knowing its source? (And the first person to refer to Godwin’s law has already lost the argument.)
    And, just in passing, can I congratulate the Australian cricketeers in deciding not to bend the knee in favour of an anti-capitalist, anti-family organisation.

    1. I had imagined that the use of any data gained by Nazi experiments on human beings would always be regarded as being morally indefensible. How wrong I was. I came across a Catholic source (which, unfortunately I did not note and have since been unable to refind) which said that the use of such data could be morally defensible. I have even come across a Jewish source which drew the same conclusion.

      “It is easy to see the futility of advocating the data’s use when the intended benefit to society is trivial and moderate. Conversely, if the intended benefit is to save lives, most would agree that the data should be used.

      Absolute censorship of the Nazi data does not seem proper, especially when the secrets of saving lives may lie solely in its contents. Society must decide on its use by correctly understanding the exact benefits to be gained. When the value of the Nazi data is of great value to humanity, then the morally appropriate policy would be to utilize the data, while explicitly condemning the atrocities. But the data should not be used just with a single disclaimer. To further justify its use, the scientific validity of the experiment must be clear; there must be no other alternative source from which to gain that information, and the capacity to save lives must be evident.”

    1. It depends – if the vaccine is safe and thoroughly tested and if it has been produced on ethical grounds then probably yes – but I suspect it will be a balance of different factors. Life isn’t always as black and white as it is in the atheist fundamentalist world!

  2. This is a court disposition of Stanley Plotkin, a prominent scientist involved in the development of vaccines. In this disposition he admits to the use of 78 unborn babies over 12 weeks of gestation in just one vaccine study. It’s only about 5 minutes:

  3. I don’t suppose that by December 2020 many people will be looking back on something posted in September 2020 but , just in case, here are a few articles which examine the morality of using currently available COVID vaccines:

    Catholic ethics and the problem of an ethically compromised COVID-19 vaccine

    Catholics must weigh ethical considerations in the development of COVID-19 vaccine

    Counterpoint: We Should Reject Abortion-Tainted Vaccines: Stacy Trasancos

    Vaccines and Doubly Remote Cooperation in Evil: Fr. Matthew Schneider

    12 Things Less-Remote Cooperation in Evil Than COVID Vaccines
    Fr. Matthew Schneider

    A corrective to the (Bishop) Schneider statement on the COVID vaccines: Jeff Mirus

    All of these articles are written by Catholics but even non-Catholics might find them interesting as they discuss issues (eg. remote cooperation, passive and active cooperation) which may have a wider audience than just Catholics.

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