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

Only the Public Should Own Vaccines

Jan 18, 2021

In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. The discovery of penicillin transformed the practice of medicine and saved countless millions of lives. This discovery led to the development of antibiotics, which were used to heal wounds and overcome many diseases such as syphilis, gangrene, and tuberculosis. Fleming decided that this science had to be released into the world to serve the greater good. He transferred the penicillin patents to the U.S. and U.K. governments, which were able to mass-produce penicillin in time to treat many of the wounded in World War II.

Similarly, both Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk, who developed polio vaccines in the 1950s, declined to patent or profit from them. When asked about who gets the patent for the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk famously replied: “The people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Thanks to these vaccines, polio was nearly eradicated from the world.

Like penicillin and polio vaccines, the public should have owned the COVID-19 vaccine and the public should have been vaccinated for free.