The Spark

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

Vaccine Producers Have Final Say, and It Is Killing Us

Feb 1, 2021

Who runs the United States?

There are those who thought Trump did. Now, others would say Joe Biden. Or the Congress, Senate, governors and mayors.

But the drug companies are making it clear that no one can tell them what to do. They run the show when it comes to COVID-19.

Pfizer, Moderna, and the rest have decided to delay the production of the vaccines they promised both to the U.S. and the rest of the world. At the height of the pandemic! They say, don’t worry, we will have lots more at the end of the summer! As if they were producing donuts!

So, what is going on? It is certainly not a question of money. The vaccine producers have been paid billions by world governments, for enough vaccine to innoculate the population. And yet the vaccine producers have managed to retain all rights over the drugs! That means how, when and where the vaccine gets produced and how much it costs. And if they don’t feel like investing money to ramp up production or build more plants to meet their obligations, oh, well!

Pfizer has one plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan producing all the vaccines for the entire U.S. They have one, yes, one in Brussels, supplying all of Europe, and that one is currently shut down for renovation! So everybody is being told to wait.

But we can’t wait! We are in a race against time to use the only tool we have, world-wide, to protect against this deadly virus that is changing (mutating) and spreading new variants at ever faster rates.

So when the companies say “just a small delay,” what is that? In one month, in December, in the U.S., we lost 77,400 people to Covid deaths. In January, after vaccine delays were announced, the death toll is higher.

They plan to leave hundreds of thousands more dead and millions more sick while they manage and cut production costs! And since they own the patent rights to the drugs, no one else can produce Covid vaccine, either.

Medical establishments and non-profits across the world are calling for the lifting of patents so that production can be opened up to other producers. World capitalist leaders, representing the profit makers, disagree. They claim to have no control over the problem of patents.

Biden’s warning to us, that we are “going to see somewhere between a total of 600,000 to 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner,” is shameful! An admission that the U.S. government does not intend to challenge those who own Pfizer, Moderna and the rest, for rights to the vaccine we paid for! Nor to mobilize the forces of the state and military to command the drug companies to release vaccines or face confiscation. These leaders, who take us to war, won’t use war powers to mobilize production of live-saving drugs.

And since they can’t or won’t confront the problem, its time to retire them, yes, all of them. Out! Why do we keep betting on these tired horses while losing the race.

U.S. imperialism and its partners have condemned us to death and ruin. They have made political and economic choices to put profit over human life, this time the profit of the pharmaceutical companies.

It’s time for a real rumble, a real fight to release the people of the world from the production for profit system, and those who defend it.

We have to start talking about this. How to get ready? How to engage a real fight to protect ourselves and others, in every workplace and neighborhood. How to mobilize our power, as workers, to produce, transport and administer vaccines. How to connect and coordinate our fights and report up to new leaders of and for the working class.