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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/22/21

How 'Socialism' Gave us Coronavirus Vaccines and Saved the World From a Worse Pandemic

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Republicans call all government programs socialism. Many Republican congressional candidates have used that charge to attack democratic candidates' support of government-sponsored programs, such as the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, pre-school education, subsidies for child care, and other safety nets for the middle-class, working-class, and poor families.

Max Boot, journalist and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, reminds us that Republicans have been "crying wolf about Democratic Socialism for 90 years." It was evident at the 2020 Republican National Convention when Trump campaign advisor, Kimberly Guilfoyle scared Republican delegates with the warning: "Biden, Harris and the rest of the socialists will fundamentally change the nation." In his rallies, Donald Trump has added to the charge of socialism a more damning label: "communists." During the 2020 Georgia runoff senatorial races, Trump warned Georgia Republicans, "If you don't vote, the socialists and the communists win." Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has added his incendiary voice, calling the entire Democratic agenda socialism.

These scare strategies deliberately ignore the fact that the market model of "leave it to the initiative and competition of private companies and corporations" can't do everything. There are some things that only governments can accomplish.

A prime example is the development of vaccines. Few companies will undertake the capital-intensive task unless they are funded by a government. It's just too risky for a private company or public corporation to invest the vast sums required for vaccine development. That's why Dr. Peter Hotez, an expert on vaccines and infectious diseases, backed off from further development of a promising coronavirus vaccine four years before the current pandemic. In 2016 his team at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston developed a vaccine against SARS, a deadly strain of coronavirus similar to COVID-19. But he couldn't get funding to test it on humans. It had been ten years since the SARS scare. The money for coronavirus research dried up, despite prophetic warnings of a future coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Hotez says it's a typical pattern of funding vanishing when an immediate threat subsides. He believes that this flaw of penny-wise and tons foolish has now proven to be fatal and needs to be corrected.

Dr. Hotez's vaccine remains in a freezer at the University of Texas. He told Congress in 2020: "Had we had those investments early on to carry this all the way through clinical trials years ago, we could have had a vaccine ready to go." Sadly, had he obtained funding untold numbers of lives might have been saved.

Fortunately, "socialism" kicked in once COVID-19 became a deadly reality. Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson and Johnson received hefty government support, which enabled them to develop their vaccines. According to Republicans, of course, that government funding was "socialist." It's worth noting, too, that in light of the current worldwide anti-vaccine movement, private and public companies will be even less likely in the future to risk engaging in vaccine research without "socialism."

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Bernard Starr, PhD, is a psychologist and professor emeritus at CUNY, Brooklyn College. His screenplay "The Crucifixion of Truth" a thriller set in 16th century Italy and Spain has been optioned for a feature film or TV series by Atlantic and (more...)
 

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5 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments  Post Comment


Bernard Starr

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Robert Reich said "the rich get socialism and the rest of us get harsh capitalism."

Submitted on Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 12:39:32 PM

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Moderna's vaccine was completed on February 7, 2020.

By May, it had passed its Phase One (basic safety) clinical trials.

And then the US Food and Drug Administration sat on its collective fat ass for six more months, while hundreds of thousands died, before issuing an Emergency Use Authorization.

I'm literate enough to know that FDA isn't "socialism." And moral enough to know that when there's an emergency, forcibly holding a known safe and possibly effective vaccine for that emergency out of reach for six months is evil.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 2:40:52 PM

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But the government funded the development of the vaccine. It's doubtful that any private company would have proceeded without government funding ('socialism" acording to Republicans)--or if they did it would have been done very slowly and cautiously with far more dying before we would ever see a vaccine Many companies and labs with talented scientists did not even enter the race for a vaccine because of the forbidding cost of R&D.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 4:51:57 PM

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"But the government funded the development of the vaccine"

There is no "the" vaccine. And the first vaccine approved in the US was developed by a company that rejected the government R&D funding (Pfizer).

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 4:02:56 AM

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So we got a vaccine that doesn't work but made a few people very wealthy. If doctors would have been allowed to treat their patients with the drugs that had promising results there would not have been a need to authorize the emergency use only COVID vaccines.

Submitted on Monday, Nov 22, 2021 at 6:49:54 PM

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Bernard Starr

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What drugs are you referring to? And if they exist, what is the proof of their effectiveness? Can you tell us where we can find the data on the trials with those drugs you are talking about? If interested, I can tell you where you can find extensive data on the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that has been documented in peer review journals.

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 12:56:53 AM

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Here is an article that gives links to many studies on the effectiveness of Ivermectin on treating COVID19

click here

here's more

click here

and

click here

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 11:39:26 AM

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And here's a link to a brilliant summary of pretty much all the studies of Ivermectin, with a fascinating conclusion:

Click Here

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 8:30:29 PM

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Maybe you should read "The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health" so you can see what kind of people you are trusting your life with.

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 at 10:51:48 AM

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So that makes Donald Trump a socialist for initiating and funding the vaccine program?

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 1:54:13 PM

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Well, if Trump thought the market model was better, why didn't he just call in the CEO's of the big pharma companies and say: OK guys and gals, go for it. The winner of the competition to develop a vaccine will reap big rewards for your investments. But instead, he gave Billions to Moderna and gave Johnson and Johnson $456 billion and the promise to buy '100 million doses of their vaccine. All of these handouts with "no strings attached"no payback and no profit sharing. What name do you have for that which is better than Socialism for corporations?

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 at 12:04:10 PM

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Correction: He gave $465 million to Johnson and Johnson. Conclusion the same--free money to a corporation with "no strings atached"

Submitted on Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021 at 12:48:55 PM

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Good luck in using mere facts about the safety and effectiveness of the various vaccines, or the very weak evidence for the use of Ivvermectin, to counter the strongly held opinions of the vaccine critics on the site.

I've found that facts are mostly just ignored, and when they can't be ignored, they are brushed aside because sources that you and I find reliable, such as peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific and medical journals, are part of the official narrative, which, the critics have long since concluded, makes them false.

But I give you great credit for trying!

Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 at 6:25:25 PM

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