The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England And Wales (CBCEW) has issued a statement regarding the Covid-19 vaccine.
The development of a vaccine against COVID-19 presents an important breakthrough in protecting others as well as oneself from the virus; a virus which has not only caused a global pandemic and led to a huge loss of life, but has also placed a great burden on healthcare workers and systems.
Each of us has a duty to protect others from infection with its danger of serious illness and, for some, death. A vaccine is the most effective way to achieve this unless one decides to self-isolate.
Each Catholic must educate his or her conscience on this matter and decide what to do, also bearing in mind that a vaccine must be safe, effective and universally available, especially to the poor of the world.
Catholics may in good conscience receive any of these vaccines for the good of others and themselves. In good conscience, one may refuse a particular vaccine but [one] continues to have a duty to protect others from infection.
The CBCEW website also reminds us that, during the current lockdown, you can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. Limits on numbers apply to life events.
You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship or a service.
The government’s Places of Worship Guidance (updated 22 December 2020) summarises the position for England’s churches and can be found in full here.