G. J. Woodall, Vaccines and Catholic morality

The scale of the coronavirus pandemic, the numerous variants more or less virulent or contagious of the virus, deaths which in some countries match or exceed the number killed in the Second World War, health systems or intensive care departments even in developed countries under severe strain, varied lockdowns, quarantines and other enduring restrictions upon whole populations, are all evidence of a global crisis which persists after almost eighteen months since early 2020.
The enormous fear unleashed by a new and sudden pandemic of the kind and nature now being experienced is one factor which inspires scientific and medical experts to search for possible cures and for a possible vaccine to reduce, avert and counter-act the contagion.
The moral issues at stake here cannot be reduced to questions of safety and efficacy, nor even to matters of equitable distribution and access to vaccines once they are approved. Nor can the principles of the social doctrine of the Church be invoked as if all could be reduced to them, important as they are as key criteria of justice in this, as in other spheres of life.
What is offered in this brief assessment avoids scandalous compromises with what is of its nature immoral, and, I believe, may be followed with confidence by those Catholics and others of good will who may be perplexed about this very delicate moral issue.