What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

David Prentice, Ph.D., Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D.   

Last updated June 2, 2021


Most COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Use Fetal Cells for Production; Several Used Abortion-Derived Cell Lines in Testing; Experts Urge All Vaccine Developers to Use Noncontroversial Alternatives


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Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) has published a new chart (en español) detailing whether the eight leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates supported by Operation Warp Speed are produced or tested using cells derived from abortions. The vaccine candidates evaluated are those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Sanofi/GSK, Inovio, and Merck.


CLI’s analysis found that a majority of vaccine candidates did not use abortion-derived cell lines in their production. Several used abortion-derived cell lines in laboratory testing, or their use in testing could not be determined.


Accurate information about the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines is essential, especially because many proposed candidates use newer molecular technologies for production of a viral vaccine. CLI’s analysis utilizes data from the primary scientific literature when available, along with data from clinical trial documents, reputable vaccine tracking websites, and published commercial information.


It remains to be seen which vaccines will be approved for emergency use and how soon they will be available to patients. CLI will continue to provide the public with access to timely and accurate information so that individuals and families can weigh all factors – including secular science and religious traditions – and make vaccine decisions in line with their conscience.


Top Warp Speed Candidates for Quick Reference:

Press Release:

Full Chart:


Flow Chart for Creation and Testing of Vaccines

For additional background and guidance, please see:

* A Visual Aid to Viral Infection and Vaccine Production (en español) for a visual primer on the various strategies for viral vaccine production.

* COVID-19 Vaccines & Fetal Cell Lines for an infographic description of how fetal cell lines are sometimes used to produce vaccines.


Flow Chart for Creation and Testing of Vaccines

Design & Development: conceptualization, preparatory experiments, and specification for how vaccine will be constructed and produced.


Production: process used to manufacture final vaccine to be given to people.


Confirmatory Lab Tests on Product: tests to analyze quality, nucleic acid or protein sequence, protein conformation, antibody reactivity, etc. of final vaccine product.


Vaccination: giving final produced vaccine to people.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for educational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.  The 175th anniversary of Dr. Charlotte Denman Lozier’s birth occurred on March 15, 2019.



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