Image: Jesse Paul via Unsplash

Sometimes I Hate Capitalism

It’s a great system, but it ain’t perfect.

I don’t know how long I have been in lockdown for now, and there’s no glimmering hope on the horizon as I type this. For so long, Australia’s response to Covid-19 had been the envy of the world. Sure, we had bumps along the way, but we proved that lockdowns are an effective strategy in mitigating outbreaks.

Until now, that is.

A virulent strain of Covid-19 is impacting the local communities of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities, and it seems our only hope is to get 70-85% of our citizens fully vaccinated. The only trouble is, there ain’t enough vaccines to go around at the moment.

On top of this, medical experts are sharing conflicting advice between the two current doses we have in Australia: Pfizer and AstraZeneca. I’m under the age of 40, so I’ve been recommended to get Pfizer. And when the vaccine rollout began, it was mandated that way. But now, that advice has changed. Now, according to the government, I can go out and get an AstraZeneca shot, even though there is a very (very) rare chance of getting a blood clot from it. According to the Australian Department of Health, that’s 4-6 people in every million. Of course, the advice here is that I should speak to my GP first before getting approved, but why should I take a very (very) low risk for AstraZeneca when Pfizer doesn’t hold this risk at all?

Unfortunately, with the way the rollout is slowly progressing and this current outbreak looming, it seems getting AstraZeneca is a now better chance than waiting for Pfizer to become available. That’s because dying from Covid-19 is a much higher risk than developing a blood clot from AstraZeneca. And part of this issue arises from the downside of capitalism. The desire to make money, even at the expense of worldwide disaster. We have pharmaceutical companies holding their patents and blueprints on their Covid-19 vaccines in order to make money from it.

How can you put a price on such a health crisis? According to the World Health Organisation, vaccine manufacturers should release the “know-how” of making their vaccines to “dramatically increase global supplies.” And it’s clear that with more supply, more people get vaccinated quicker, and the world can return to normal sooner.

But no, the big pharmaceutical companies want to make a profit—a profit on our health—even though they are already multi-million-dollar companies, projecting to make even more following this pandemic. I mean, look, I’m all for people having the opportunity to get rich, but there has to come a point where ethics get called into question. Do we save more people and make less money, or make more money and save fewer people? The answer seems obvious to any morally sane person.

And if you’re not morally sane, at least think about the worldwide economy. You don’t have to be an economic expert to know that international travel starting up sooner is much better for the worldwide economy.

And if you don’t give two craps about the economy, at least think of our collective sanity. Especially me, living in a country that is currently sitting in last place when it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations. It’s not just the fear of catching and spreading Covid-19 that weighs heavy on my mind, I’m also stressed about not being able to live a proper life any time soon. Humans are not designed to stay cooped up!

Just imagine: this could all be over much sooner if big pharma released their vaccine blueprints. Are they really in this business for our health?

It doesn’t seem like it…

Feature image: Jesse Paul via Unsplash

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