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Johnson and Johnson vaccine rolling out to Illinois, some object on religious grounds

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is shipping out across the country, but not everyone is singing its praises.

Illinois is expected to receive its first shipment of around 83,000 doses, but the State Health Department says a majority of those doses will go to state-supported mass vaccination sites. There are no such locations in the WEEK viewing area.

McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight says she's happy that another vaccine was approved. However, she doesn't know when her department will get their first doses of the new vaccine.

"We're looking forward to having more vaccine access for our community and our state," McKnight said.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires only one dose for protection and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures. It joins Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines as the three currently approved for emergency use in the United States.

But on another front, some Catholic leaders aren't so happy. The Archdiocese of New Orleans said in a statement that the other two vaccines are ok, but that Catholics should not take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because they term it "morally compromised." They maintain it was developed from fetal stem cells tied to abortions decades ago.

The Diocese of Peoria did not return our calls, and they have not released a statement about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In December 2020, they called for the moral development of vaccines.

"We must encourage the continued development of non-morally compromised cell lines for future vaccines from all drug manufacturing companies," a statement read.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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