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The Covid-19 Vaccine Should Belong to the People

The Nation – The US government has the authority under existing law to break patent monopolies. “…The idea that some people would not receive a vaccine was once unthinkable. In a now legendary story, Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine in 1955—and then gave it away for free. An interviewer once asked Salk who owned the patent for his polio vaccine. He responded, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent.” Salk was incredulous. “Could you patent the sun?” Since then, pharmaceutical corporations have patented the medical equivalent of the moon and the stars. Patent monopolies have fueled the current drug pricing crisis, and they may block access to any future Covid-19 vaccine…The public should get a say. Like Salk, Bancel has benefited greatly from public dollars. His corporation received millions in funding as early as 2013 to help develop its new way of making vaccines. Federal scientists helped design the new Covid-19 vaccine and are now running the critical human tests. The government also just gave $483 million to scale manufacturing. The public is paying at every stage for this potential vaccine—and so many others. All five candidates Trump is expected to short-list have benefited from public funding…”

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