Questions From Readers
Would it be proper to accept a vaccination or some other medical injection containing albumin derived from human blood?
Frankly, each Christian must personally decide on this.
God’s servants rightly want to obey the directive found at Acts 15:28, 29, to abstain from blood. Accordingly, Christians will not eat unbled meat or products such as blood sausage. But God’s law also applies in the medical area. Jehovah’s Witnesses carry a document stating that they refuse ‘blood transfusions, whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets, or blood plasma.’ What, though, about serum injections containing a tiny amount of a blood protein?
Witnesses have long realized that this is a matter for private decision in accord with each one’s Bible-trained conscience. This was pointed out in “Questions From Readers” of The Watchtower of June 1, 1990, which discussed serum injections that a physician may recommend if one is exposed to certain diseases. The active components of such injections are not blood plasma per se but antibodies from the blood plasma of those who have developed resistance. Some Christians who feel that they can in good conscience accept such injections have noted that antibodies from the blood of a pregnant woman cross into the blood of the baby in her womb. “Questions From Readers” mentioned this, as well as the fact that some albumin passes from a pregnant woman to her baby.
Many find this noteworthy, since some vaccines that are not prepared from blood may contain a relatively small amount of plasma albumin that was used or added to stabilize the ingredients in the preparation. Currently a small amount of albumin is also used in injections of the synthetic hormone EPO (erythropoietin). Some Witnesses have accepted injections of EPO because it can hasten red blood cell production and so may relieve a physician of a feeling that a blood transfusion might be needed.
Other medical preparations may come into use in the future that involve a comparatively small amount of albumin, since pharmaceutical companies develop new products or change the formulas of existing ones. Christians may thus want to consider whether albumin is part of a vaccination or other injection that a doctor recommends. If they have doubts or have reason to believe that albumin is a component, they can inquire of their physician.
As noted, many Witnesses have not objected to accepting an injection that contains a small quantity of albumin. Still, anyone wanting to study the matter more thoroughly before making a personal decision should review the information presented in “Questions From Readers” of The Watchtower of June 1, 1990.