Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
July 2019

Fetal cells and vaccines: Common questions answered

Vaccine Education Center Parents PACK Newsletter July 2019In the process of learning more about vaccines, parents — and some healthcare providers — are sometimes surprised to find out that fetal cells are used during the manufacturing process for a few vaccines. This realization can be shocking, particularly as society struggles with the morality of abortion and the use of fetal cells for scientific research. 

The cells were isolated from two elective abortions performed in the 1960s. This article addresses some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to how and why some vaccines are made using these controversial cells. 

Find answers to the following common questions:

  • Which vaccines are made using fetal cells?
  • Do vaccines contain parts of fetuses or fetal cells?
  • Why are fetal cells used to make some vaccines?
  • How can cells from the 1960s still be used today?
  • Do more abortions need to be done?
  • My religion is against abortions, so I don’t want to get these vaccines. Are alternatives available?
See additional resources, including a new video and article, Stanley Plotkin: Pioneering the use of fetal cells to make rubella vaccine.

News & Notes

What vaccines do you need?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a quick, 10-question quiz to help adults determine whether they need any vaccines. Information is not stored, and once completed, a list of potentially needed vaccines will be generated, so that you can discuss your needs with your healthcare provider.

Check out this easy-to-use resource.

Measles podcast

Voices for Vaccines, a parent advocacy group, recently spoke with Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center, to find out more about measles and the current outbreaks for their podcast series, Vax Talk.

Listen to the episode, Dr. Offit Talks Measles.

Contagious Conversations podcast: Season two released

The CDC Foundation recently released season two of their podcast series, Contagious Conversations. The new season includes conversations about building a culture of health in America, overcoming health challenges in communities and eradicating polio.

Check out the new season. 

Children’s book about measles — Free and available in several languages

Paul Has Measles is a children’s story about how diseases can spread and how we can protect ourselves. The book was written by three virologists from Mexico, Susana López, Martha Yocupicio and Selene Zárate, and illustrated by Eva Lobatón. It can be freely downloaded in nine languages or purchased through Amazon. The Spanish version is also available in video format on YouTube.

Check it out today.

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

Which religious groups prohibit the use of vaccines made using fetal tissue?  

  1. Jewish
  2. Catholics
  3. Muslims
  4. None of these
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