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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Catholic U.S. troops should be allowed to reject the COVID-19 vaccine if taking it "would violate the sanctity" of their conscience, said Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy Broglio in a statement out Tuesday.

Why it matters: Broglio encouraged troops to get the vaccine, but acknowledged that some people have questioned whether the church's position encouraging the shot "precludes an individual from forming a sincerely held religious belief that receiving the vaccine would violate his conscience."

  • "It does not," wrote the archbishop.

Driving the news: The Pentagon mandated the vaccine for troops back in August, but many service members are still unvaccinated as deadlines approach.

Between the lines: Broglio noted that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested using an abortion-derived cell line.

  • "That type of a link has been for centuries considered remote material cooperation with evil and is never sinful," Broglio wrote, underscoring his approval of the two-dose vaccines.
  • "The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed, tested, and is produced, with abortion-derived cell lines. That vaccine is, therefore, more problematic. If it were the only vaccine available, it would be morally permissible, but the faithful Catholic is to make known his or her preference for a more morally acceptable treatment."

The church’s guidance allows Catholics to take vaccines derived from fetal tissue when no other vaccine option is available.

Broglio has supported the decision to mandate the vaccine for U.S. troops, and his statement Tuesday appeared to codify his earlier suggestion that troops could reject the vaccine because of their personal conscience.

Go deeper: Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops remain unvaccinated as deadlines near

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

Michael Porter Jr. emerges as prominent COVID-19 vaccine skeptic

Michael Porter Jr. Photo: Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr. steps onto the court at Ball Arena Friday unvaccinated against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The 23-year-old shooter is emerging as one of the NBA's most vocal skeptics of the COVID-19 vaccine — and among the most prominent in Colorado.

How one local leader is pushing for COVID boosters

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

At the Triangle View Apartments on B Street SE, Beatrice Evans, 68, is helping her neighbors get their shots.

On Oct. 27, Evans, the building’s tenant association president, is organizing a vaccine clinic to offer COVID-19 booster shots to the residents, largely Black seniors.

Why it matters: 49 of the 50 D.C. residents who since June have died of COVID-19 were Black, according to an analysis of DC Health data first reported by DCist.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.