Letters to the Editor: Capitalism is leaving poor countries unvaccinated. That’s disgraceful
To the editor: Am I the only one appalled by the behavior of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom on COVID-19 vaccine distribution? As you reported, this group of nations opposed the entreaty of India and South Africa to waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines, allowing poorer countries to import cheaper generic versions, as was done previously with HIV medications. (“Rich countries are hoarding COVID-19 vaccines. Elsewhere, the pandemic may keep killing for years,” Dec. 22)
The reason for opposition: “Innovation would be impossible without patent protection.”
This is a blatant lie. Patent protection preserves profits. Innovation results from research, which is often financed by governments — which is to say, funded by the public.
The drug manufacturers’ sociopathic indifference to the suffering of the untreated populations is matched only by their stupidity in ignoring the fact that holding back vaccines guarantees that the virus lingers forever, hosted by the unvaccinated.
Jeff Goodwin, Los Angeles
To the editor: Stopping the spread of COVID-19 requires most people to be vaccinated. This will be difficult due to a combination of racism and profit motive.
Many people, especially people of color, are suspicious and not willing to be vaccinated. For hundreds of years, Black and brown people have suffered exclusion from medical care, coercive human experimentation, involuntary sterilization, untreated infectious disease, exploitation and inequality.
Additional suspicion has been caused by the influence of money and conflicts of interest that have corrupted agencies designed to protect the people, such as the Food and Drug Administration.
The corrupting influence of the profit motive, combined with the brutality of racism in medicine, haunts the health of all Americans in a pandemic age. A more equal and healthier world requires the elimination of both racism and the profit motive.
Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Berkeley
To the editor: This article makes it seem as if rich countries such as the United States are wrong to see that their whole populations are vaccinated before people in other nations have access to the vaccines.
I look at it this way: You pull up to your child’s school and it is on fire. This is a horrible situation, and you want to save all the children, but you can only save one child at a time. So, which child are you going to save first?
I am all in favor of assisting other countries as quickly as we can, but we must save our own family first.
Edward Broomfield, Claremont
To the editor: It is morally reprehensible that after all the suffering and death that we have seen over the past months, rich countries are hoarding vaccine supplies and the drug manufacturers are making a profit from the sales.
I applaud the World Health Organization and other groups for trying to give equal opportunities for the poorer countries to get the vaccines. But their efforts are not enough.
There must be a way to get the world vaccinated without the obstructive profit motivation and red tape. The billionaires who made so much money during the pandemic should be subjected to a tax to cover the costs to save the world from this scourge.
Varini de Silva, Huntington Beach
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