COVID-19 Vaccination Appropriations Bill
In April, The Department of Health and Human Services complied with the language in the budget bill and amended the COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets to disclose the usage of fetal cell lines. On March 9, 2021, Governor Whitmer signed into law H.B. 4047 which contained the fetal cell line disclosure language. On March 3, 2021, with a vote of 85-25, the House approved a final version of H.B. 4047 which had been amended by the Senate on the previous day to include the informed consent language that is in H.B. 4019. On March 2, 2021, the Senate amended and then approved H.B. 4047 with a vote of 34-1. The bill will now go to the Governor for consideration.
H.B. 4019 was introduced on January 26, 2021, and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee. On Feb. 3 the bill was reported from committee along party lines. The House approved the bill on February 4, 2021, with a vote of 59-50. It was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 9th. H.B. 4047 was introduced on January 27, 2021, and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
H.B. 4019 is a supplemental appropriations bill designed to augment the State’s COVID-19 response. The bill includes funding for many vaccine-related distribution costs and provides provisions for distribution priorities. Specifically, the bill prohibits funding for a mandatory vaccination program and requires the provider of any COVID-19 vaccines to disclose whether the vaccine utilized aborted fetal cell lines in the development of the vaccine. H.B. 4047 was originally introduced as a COVID-19 relief bill that focused mainly on businesses but was amended to include other provisions including the language from H.B. 4019 which requires disclosure of the use of fetal cell lines in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
There are three COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed under the Federal Government’s Emergency Use Authorization program. One is produced by Pfizer corporation, one is from Moderna, and the third is from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested on the aborted fetal cell line HEK 293. However, there is limited data on the development of the vaccine and currently, there is no indication either vaccine was developed on a fetal cell line. The Janssen vaccine was both developed and tested on the PER.C6 fetal cell line. There are several other COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of production, and some of them were both developed and tested on aborted fetal cell lines.
Unfortunately, vaccine manufacturers have been using aborted fetal cell lines in the development and testing of vaccines for decades. Many of the vaccines for childhood diseases utilize various fetal cell lines, and many have no ethical alternative.
It typically takes 5 or more years to develop a vaccine. The current vaccines for COVID-19 were developed at record speed and utilize a new technology called mRNA. Other vaccine candidates are still in the development or clinical trial stage. Many of the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and tested on fetal cell lines. It remains to be seen whether a completely untainted vaccine will gain FDA approval for use.