Church of Ireland Archbishops are encouraging all members to take up the opportunity of Covid-19 vaccination programmes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

In a statement they have said vaccination has been helping protect individuals by preventing and reducing illness and death.

They say the Church of Ireland has advocated following public health advice from trusted sources, including the HSE and Health and Social Care services in Northern Ireland.

They say that in the past, vaccines have made a significant difference in society, and continue to do so. 

"The Covid-19 vaccines are already bringing hope and a possibility of a return to relative normality, and should be made available globally as a priority". 

In December, Irish Catholic Bishops questioned the use of human foetal cell-lines with origins in abortions, being used in the development and production of some vaccines for Covid-19.

In response, Pfizer said its mRNA vaccine candidate did not contain foetal cell lines.

Foetal cell lines were used to create vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis A, rubella, and rabies.

Most vaccines currently available were developed using cell strains cultured from two foetuses that were aborted for other purposes in the US during the 1960s.

The catholic bishops said in December that it was morally permissible for Catholics to accept vaccines with foetal cell lines, especially if the potential risk to life or health was significant or if a more ethically acceptable alternative was not readily available.

Pfizer said it didn't contain any such cells and is a synthetic pharmaceutical product.