Imperialist Countries Hoard Coronavirus Vaccine Preorders as Global Poverty Rises

Long Island critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay was one of the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine in a non-trial capacity this month, Photo credit: Spectrum New.

By Mike Talavera

Most coronavirus vaccines will be going to the imperialist countries, which have placed enough preorders with companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to immunize their populations multiple times over, according to a Duke University study. Another report from Oxfam published this week concluded that hundreds of millions around the world have lost their jobs this year, and nearly 3 billion have not received any financial stipend to help them weather the economic storm of the New Depression.

Imperialism is to blame for this inequality, contrary to the ruling-class lie that the coronavirus is the “common enemy.” The export of finance capital from the imperialist countries, resulting in super-exploitation which oppressed nations are compelled to accept, explains how the old Indian state has failed to secure enough vaccines to treat the Indian people even though Indian manufacturers are set to produce more vaccines than any other country in 2021.

The solution put forward by the imperialists is charity, disguising a political problem as a moral one. Bill Gates has led an initiative called Covax, backed by the World Health Organization, to fundraise with the goal of supplying a billion vaccines for 92 of the world’s poorest countries. While a billion is a number that grabs headlines, it would only be enough to immunize a small minority of the people from these countries. Not to mention that charity from imperialists always comes at a price.

Even if some imperialists pretend to care about equality, as a class they have been a parasite on the rest of the world for over a century. With each economic crisis, the monopoly capitalists absorb the smaller ones, accumulating more wealth and asserting more political domination. Since the beginning of the year, state governments have spent an additional $11.7 trillion for pandemic relief, with 83% of that total being spent by the 36 richest countries and only .4% being spent by the 39 poorest countries.

Many have speculated that President-elect Joe Biden would have better handled the federal government’s response to the coronavirus, but differences in presidential policy would not fundamentally change the deepening inequality spurred by imperialism, both within the US and without.

Despite the US spending more on pandemic relief compared to other countries, most people in the US still suffer. Food bank networks are predicting an 8-billion meal deficit next year, and unemployment claims continue to defy historic precedents. 

US imperialism and other imperialist countries have promised to donate their excess vaccines once their citizens have been treated, but expected delays in vaccine production mean that these “donations,” if they are ever given, would arrive too late.

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