Fear and Mistrust: Vaccine Production in the U.S.

A Gallup poll recently found that 35% of Americans wouldn’t get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available right now, at no cost to them. Because of a whirlwind of misinformation from the Trump administration, other political figures, and media, many Americans are saying they will elect to not receive a vaccination because of their mistrust in the system that’s creating the vaccine, or outright denial that the virus even exists.

This is the state of things in a society that questions science. When political leaders question science, other people are discounting sound medical advice and research, which puts themselves and others at risk.

In one way, these people have a point. It’s hard to believe that there will be a safe and effective vaccine by early next year. The process of developing vaccines typically takes a decade, and what companies are doing right now is trying to compress all of the research and work necessary into less than a year. Different companies in different countries are competing against each other to be the first with a vaccine, so they can be the ones to profit off the pandemic. This is crazy and sick.

COVID is a global disaster and we should be using the coordinated research of the best laboratories in the world to find a solution. Instead, companies in the U.S., Russia, Germany, and other countries are working independently of each other. The U.S. government has handed over $8 billion to pharmaceutical and biotech companies through Trump’s Operation Warp Speed to develop a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 

But this is not a hot-rod race. This way of doing research creates the perfect environment for fear and mistrust in the population. And while there are conspiracy theories about the coronavirus that are getting a lot of attention, it’s not the science that is the proven enemy of the people. It’s the ruling class of this country and the globe that only care about expanding their profits, no matter the cost in lives.

There’s no doubt that we need protection from this deadly virus, so we need a vaccine. But the only way people will trust the treatments and cures that are available will be if biotech and pharmaceutical research and production are under the control of the workers who have the knowledge to produce safe products, not under the control of the bosses’ government and CEOs of a profit-centered industry.