Top research institutions and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have sacrificed other projects to focus on developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine. While there have been some efforts at collaboration, it has become apparent that the search for a viable vaccine is ultimately driven by wasteful competition among governments and profiteering corporations.
In the name of “America First,” the Trump administration recently launched “Operation Warp Speed” with the goal to find a vaccine as quickly as possible. Trump has essentially granted the program a blank check to reopen the economy as quickly as possible. The aim is to give money to the big pharmaceutical companies, known for price-gouging sick people by monopolizing drugs that people need.
Privatizing a search for a vaccine is not only a disgusting display of greed, but is also a health risk for all of us. The goal of “warp speed” vaccine development means loosened FDA regulations and encouragement to take shortcuts. Trump wants a vaccine NOW, despite the fact that most vaccines take years of rigorous testing before they are ready. The intention to develop a speedy vaccine is loud and clear: get people back to work – so that the economy can get back to generating maximum profits, so that the exploitation of working people can continue, so that the vaccine can be sold to other countries for a profit, and so that Trump might not look so bad. Many scientists are undoubtedly working hard, using caution, and collaborating internationally to prioritize developing a safe vaccine. In a world run by workers, not capitalist profiteers, these kinds of safety and health decisions would be up to these experts.
Featured image credit: Bloomberg News