The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Capitalism Can’t Even Deliver This Vaccine

Jan 4, 2021

“I feel hopeful today, relieved.” These were the words of a Queens, New York critical care nurse, Sandra Lindsay, after she got the first shot of one of the new COVID vaccines.

Certainly, vaccines are the answer to viral diseases, the only really efficient one that medical science has found so far. And the two vaccines already given FDA approval show early promise in the rapid trials they have been put through.

Isn’t that reason to be hopeful?

Unfortunately, it is not. This disease will not be felled simply by the discovery of a vaccine, no matter how effective and safe it turns out to be. What is required is the simple, time-consuming, well-organized, well-funded work to deliver the vaccine. In other words, to put it into people’s arms.

But the population is already discovering that the vaccination process has become delayed and entangled in the system.

On January 3, less than 14 million doses have been distributed, and fewer than three million people have received an inoculation or “shot in the arm.” At this rate, it will take an estimated 10 years to inoculate a big enough share of the population to begin to overcome this virus.

Trump says it’s not a federal problem. He says distribution is a “state problem.”

With no coordinated federal policy, the states are expected to coordinate a defense with whatever they get from the drug companies, whenever they get it. But this isn’t just a Trump problem. State government systems are not staffed and supplied with the tools they need to function at this level.

State public health systems have been destroyed by years of funding cuts, job cuts—as well as the usual graft connected to the health system, with vast sums of money funneled off to the corporations and, finally, to Wall Street and the hereditary families that constitute the ruling class.

More unbelievable yet is the idea that the privately-organized hospital and medical systems will make up for that deficit. These systems, most of which are today organized around the need to make profit, have been shredded by years of cuts, followed by even more cuts this year when the virus hit. And the people who do the actual work of caring for patients and carrying out other essential work are decimated by sickness and fatigue in their own ranks.

Still more unbelievable is the idea that big, for-profit, major pharmacy chains will not only pick up more of the difference, but also inoculate all the people in nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly.

It’s not impossible to confront and conquer a medical problem of this magnitude. But it requires huge amounts of money, put into a public system which prioritizes the health of the population. It requires a system that is organized and directed centrally.

Where is the funding? For all these months, while politicians quibbled over who is in charge, shamelessly little money has been assigned to the problem. The new aid package contains eight billion dollars “earmarked” for vaccine distribution—which only means it is earmarked to go into the profits of the pharmaceutical companies, the profits of big distribution networks like UPS, the profits of pharmacy chains, the profits of privately-owned nursing homes—in other words, it will be falling into the same misuse and graft that regularly happens with medical expenditures.

Capitalism is functioning as it always does. Its system is designed to maximize profit to the biggest sharks. They cannot and will not use their capital to save the population. That’s why the pandemic will continue to ravage the population—even if scientists have discovered an effective vaccine.

These billionaires and their mouthpieces are criminals and murderers. They need to be rounded up and put out. Restrained—bodily, if need be—from any further decision making. Restrained from any further profit making. Their stolen fortunes need to be taken back and administered for the public good.

The representatives of their system have failed miserably. They and their bosses all need to be replaced by the organized self-activity of millions of regular people, including professionals and workers, who will put human life first over all.

Capitalism is a broken system. It needs to be uprooted, torn out and replaced in order for us to have a chance at anything approximating a normal life. With decades of baggage that will weigh down the future ahead of us, only a new social and political system built on the basis of socialism and communism can promise a future of any quality for the population.