Medicine & Science

Should We Be Concerned about ‘Ethical’ Vaccines?

To address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Congress directed $10 billion to project Operation Warp Speed to develop vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics—so-called countermeasures.1 While the public health community and media laud the ambitious goal of producing enough vaccine for every person in the US by January 2021, other people have expressed concern that rapid development of a coronavirus vaccine might take shortcuts with proper safety testing. Indeed, 50 percent of Americans would not receive a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available, and another 25 percent aren’t sure.2 

Historically, vaccine development can take 10 years or longer,3 which may explain why many Americans, parents especially, lack trust in a coronavirus vaccine developed under such a hasty timeline. 

Perhaps more people have experienced or learned of adverse safety issues with other vaccines and are suspicious of claims by government and vaccine manufacturers that vaccines are “safe and effective.” 

Considering that coronavirus has a 99.8 percent recovery rate—similar to annual influenza—one could even question the need for a vaccine. Additionally, new coronavirus vaccines may be only 50 percent effective, similar to a yearly flu shot.4

Are “ethical” vaccines really ethical?

Another concern for people of faith is news that experimental coronavirus vaccines could be produced using tissue derived from aborted babies.5 In addition to future coronavirus vaccines, several vaccines used for other diseases can be designated as “unethical” because their production methods use tissues derived from aborted human fetuses to cultivate vaccine viruses.6 Children of God for Life has meticulously documented such vaccine origins.7 Its founder, Debra Vinnedge, was prominently featured in Meredith Wadman’s 2017 book The Vaccine Race, which offers a detailed history of vaccines developed using aborted human fetal tissue.8 

If a vaccine is not derived from aborted fetal tissue, can it then be termed “ethical” and thus appropriate for administration to entire populations? Unfortunately, vaccines may be considered unethical for reasons beyond the use of fetus-derived tissue. After many years of vaccine research, I have found abundant evidence of corruption and unethical practices within drug companies and the government public health community. 

Use of the term “ethical” to describe vaccines ignores the mandatory nature of vaccines and the potential for severe vaccine adverse effects, regardless of how the vaccines were made. 

For example, within minutes of birth, babies are injected with the vaccine for hepatitis B—a disease of promiscuous homosexuals, heterosexuals, and intravenous drug abusers.9 This is a so-called “ethical” vaccine because it’s not derived from aborted human fetuses. But is it ethical to inject all babies with a lifestyle-disease vaccine? 

In addition, pre-teens are injected with an HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine with the unproven goal of preventing cervical cancer.10 Infection with certain high-risk types of HPV—a sexually transmitted disease—can cause cancer of the cervix, genital areas, or throat. Cervical cancer is commonly related to early sex with multiple partners or to having a male sexual partner who has had multiple sexual partners.11 The HPV vaccine is another so-called “ethical” vaccine because it’s not derived from aborted human fetuses. But is it ethical to inject pre-teen girls and boys with a lifestyle-disease vaccine?

Furthermore, mandating vaccines is a blatant violation of medical informed consent—a basic tenet of ethical medical practice. With numerous vaccines currently mandated for work, school, college, and daycare—and soon a coronavirus vaccine likely added to the list when marketed—the potential for harm increases.

Are vaccines totally safe?

If an adult or child is killed or injured by a vaccine, federal law—the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986—prohibits the person from suing the drug company that made the vaccine. Despite the government’s narrowing criteria for injured parties to collect on vaccine death or injury, the taxpayer fund has paid out more than $4 billion to vaccine victims and their families. If vaccines are safe, why must drug companies be protected from lawsuits?

When recipients of a new coronavirus vaccine are killed or injured, they or their families will be prohibited from suing the vaccine makers.12 Since new COVID-19 vaccines are termed “countermeasures,” they are covered under the federal Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.13 Described as a government “black hole” process with no transparency or accountability, the CICP appears to lack sufficient funding, reflected in its less than 10 percent payout rate for mostly H1N1 swine flu vaccine injury claims and limited one-year statute of limitations. Since the program began reviewing claims in 2010, it has received 485 claims, yet only 39 people have received compensation, prompting one critic to portray this as “the right to file and lose.”14

In congressional hearings leading to passage of the NCVIA, which gave lawsuit immunity to drug companies for vaccine injuries and death, Dr. Martin Smith, then president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, compared children harmed by vaccines to military soldiers in combat. Dr. Smith stated: “This country does, and it should, provide compensation and continuing care for its soldiers who are injured in the defense of their country. It has been and is the contention of the [AAP] that the children of this nation are also soldiers in the defense of this country against disease.”15

This means the government is telling you to risk sacrificing your children instead of giving drug companies incentive to develop safer vaccines. In his testimony to Congress, polio vaccine pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk expressed concerns that the NCVIA would remove “the incentive for manufacturers and the scientific community to improve existing vaccines.”16 In recent years, adults have also been encouraged to receive an ever-increasing number of vaccines.17

When vaccines are mandated and the federal government (through taxes) pays the vaccine liability costs for drug companies, these companies have no incentive to make safer products or improve existing products.18

Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services has ignored directives under the 1986 NCVIA to report every two years to Congress how the agency has improved vaccine safety. In a Freedom of Information lawsuit in 2018, the HHS revealed that it had never submitted a single biennial safety report in 30 years. In the meantime, HHS promotes and funds a growing vaccine schedule with little apparent concern for the safety of currently licensed vaccines.19 

In their goal to achieve 100 percent vaccination rates, drug companies and government public health authorities withhold and distort an unconscionable amount of information. Common practices include inflating disease incidence data to mislead the public into thinking a disease is more common than it really is and minimizing reports on a vaccine’s adverse reactions. 

Financial conflict of interest is another major area of concern. Individuals and organizations that determine national vaccination policies often receive grants from or own stock in the very companies they regulate.20

Do your own research

Just as we research different brands when choosing a refrigerator, a washing machine, or a car, we should spend at least similar effort in researching the pros, cons, and safety of vaccines. Vaccine consumer organizations can assist with such research.21 With social media censorship of vaccine consumer websites, we cannot rely solely on Google searches, which link to biased government and drug-company-sponsored sources.22

Simple justice dictates that Americans exercise their right to medical informed consent for vaccines (i.e., the right to opt out of vaccines for themselves or their children). Why should vaccines be any different from other medical procedures, all of which require informed consent? 


  1. Fact Sheet: Explaining Operation Warp Speed, HHS.gov, June 16, 2020, hhs.gov/about/news/2020/06/16/fact-sheet-explaining-operation-warp-speed.html.
  2. Warren Cornwall, “Just 50% of Americans Plan to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s How to Win Over the Rest,” Science, June 30, 2020, sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/just-50-americans-plan-get-covid-19-vaccine-here-s-how-win-over-rest.
  3. Douglas Broom, “5 Charts That Tell the Story of Vaccines Today,” World Economic Forum, June 2, 2020, weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/vaccine-development-barriers-coronavirus.
  4. Thomas Curwen, “Those Coronavirus Vaccines Leading the Race? Don’t Ditch the Masks Quite Yet,” Yahoo News, July 30, 2020, news.yahoo.com/those-coronavirus-vaccines-leading-race-120006184.html.
  5. Kate Scanlon, “As Researchers Discuss Using Aborted Body Parts, Archbishop Urges Pro-life Vaccines,” National Catholic Register, May 3, 2020, ncregister.com/daily-news/as-researchers-discuss-using-aborted-body-parts-archbishop-urges-pro-life-v; “Another Pharmaceutical Company—Johnson & Johnson Using Aborted Fetal Cells to Develop Covid-19 Vaccine,” Children of God for Life, March 31, 2020, cogforlife.org/2020/03/31/another-pharmaceutical-company-johnson-johnson-using-aborted-fetal-cells-to-develop-covid-19-vaccine; “Much-Hyped Moderna mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccine Uses Aborted Fetal Cells—Sanofi Pasteur’s Version Does Not,” Children of God for Life, March 25, 2020, cogforlife.org/2020/03/25/much-hyped-moderna-mrna-1273-covid-19-vaccine-uses-aborted-fetal-cells-sanofi-pasteurs-version-does-not; James L. Sherley and David Prentice, “An Ethics Assessment of COVID-19 Vaccine Programs,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, May 6, 2020 (Vaccine List Table updated June 19, 2020), lozierinstitute.org/an-ethics-assessment-of-covid-19-vaccine-programs; “Charlotte Lozier Institute Responds to Claim That Aborted Baby Parts Are Needed to Develop COVID-19 Treatment,” Charlotte Lozier Institute, March 19, 2020, lozierinstitute.org/charlotte-lozier-institute-responds-to-claim-that-aborted-baby-parts-are-needed-to-develop-covid-19-treatment.
  6. “U.S. Aborted Fetal Products,” Vaccine Information Sheet, Children of God for Life, Updated July 2020, cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/fetalproductsall.pdf.
  7. See cogforlife.org for articles on vaccine origins.
  8. Meredith Wadman, The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease, (Viking, 2017), Chapter 26.
  9. “Hepatitis B Virus: A Comprehensive Strategy for Eliminating Transmission in the United States Through Universal Childhood Vaccination: Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP),” MMWR, November 22, 1991, 40 (RR-13); 1-19, cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00033405.htm.
  10. “HPV Vaccine Recommendations,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 17, 2020, cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/hcp/recommendations.html.
  11. “Cervical Cancer, Frequently Asked Questions: Gynecologic Problems,” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, December 2018, acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/cervical-cancer.
  12. Ludwig Burger and Pushkala Aripaka, “AstraZeneca to Be Exempt from Coronavirus Vaccine Liability Claims in Most Countries,” Reuters, July 30, 2020, mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN24V2EN?fbclid=IwAR1obN6xLSqK0AT3edhjxHkp1WzYGMNK4MSNyCxzI_6nqK2UyRaWe1P5Mt8.
  13. “Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP),” Health Resources and Services Administration, June 2020, hrsa.gov/cicp/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3umGs5PunOwKVbIuS-6_Cl-3fN3oBMXcOuAry83SnB-z1wpUUBnGiEZ1o;“Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program,” Fact Sheet, Health Resources and Services Administration, June 2020, hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/cicp/cicpfactsheet.pdf.
  14. Tom Hals, “COVID-19 Era Highlights U.S. ‘Black Hole’ Compensation Fund for Pandemic Vaccine Injuries,” Reuters, August 21, 2020, reut.rs/2ZBcELJ.
  15. “Vaccine Injury Compensation: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, 98th Cong., 2d Sess., on H.R. 5810, A Bill to Amend the Public Health Services Act to Provide for the Compensation of Children and Others Who Have Sustained Vaccine-Related Injury, and for Other Purposes,” September 10, 1984, p. 121, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015042797467&view=1up&seq=129&q1=smith.
  16. National Childhood Vaccine-Injury Compensation Act: Hearing on S. 2117 Before the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, 98th Cong., 2d Sess., S. Hrg. 98-1060 (May 3, 1984), at 166.
  17. “Table 1. Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for Ages 19 Years or Older,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html.
  18. Ed Silverman, “Merck Is Accused of Stonewalling Over Effectiveness of Mumps Vaccine,” Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2015, blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2015/06/08/merck-is-accused-of-stonewalling-over-effectiveness-of-mumps-vaccine.
  19. Informed Consent Action Network v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Stipulation 18-cv-03215, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, July 9, 2018, icandecide.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Stipulated-Order-copy-1.pdf.
  20. FACA: Conflicts of Interest and Vaccine Development—Preserving the Integrity of the Process, Hearing Before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, 106th Congress, Second Session, June 15, 2000, Serial No. 106-239, govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-106hhrg73042/html/CHRG-106hhrg73042.htm.
  21. See the National Vaccine Information Center at nvic.org; See the Children’s Health Defense at childrenshealthdefense.org; See the Informed Consent Action Network at icandecide.org; See the Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute at thinktwice.com.
  22. Rep. Adam Schiff Sued by Physicians for Censoring Vaccine Debate, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, January 15, 2020, aapsonline.org/rep-adam-schiff-sued-by-physicians-for-censoring-vaccine-debate;“#MalkinLive: Interview with Del Bigtree after YouTube Bans The Highwire,” YouTube, July 30, 2020, youtube.com/watch?v=bPfTz3d0Zls; “Controversial Vaccine Movie Banned by Netflix & Apple,” YouTube, July 9, 2020, youtube.com/watch?v=FX95m5kXMBU; “CHD Holds Press Conference with Legal Team and Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Three of Facebook’s So-Called ‘Fact-Checkers,’” Children’s Health Defense, August 20, 2020, bit.ly/3bFVXU2.

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About the author

Kristine Severyn, PhD, RPh

Dr. Kristine Severyn earned a BS in pharmacy and a PhD in biopharmaceutics at the University of Cincinnati, with a concentration in pharmacology, toxicology, and drug kinetics. She is a registered pharmacist with special interest in public health and medical informed consent who researches and writes on medical/legal issues.