Communist Party USA

  COVID-19 cases are surging throughout the United States, particularly in the South and Northwest. Hospitals are under heavy strain from the rapid rise in cases. Staff shortages, lack of available ICU beds, and dwindling resources exacerbate the problem. A recent article from the Onion, a satirical publication, captures the present situation with some exaggeration: “Apologetic Nurse Informs Man Having Heart Attack There’s about an Hour Wait until Next Covid Patient Dies.” There are over 39.8 million total cases and 644,000 total deaths in the United States. There are millions more worldwide. What these data do not capture is the humanity of each case. Each death is a loved one that families will never see again. Children without their mothers and fathers; neighbors, colleagues, and communities without their friends. Fortunately, many do not die. Yet, individuals who recover from the virus may have long-term complications requiring additional and costly treatment. Entire communities have been devastated by the virus. The disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on people of color, low-income communities, and other structurally disadvantaged groups is well documented. Moreover, structural inequities in our healthcare system reflect the class struggle. Those with service sector jobs, i.e., those who could not stay home and work remotely, were more likely to contract COVID-19. Politicians pushed to “re-open the economy” but without simultaneous measures to protect the health and well-being of workers, such as contact tracing and systematic testing, guaranteed PPE, or workplace sanitation protocols. The message of monopoly capital was clear throughout the pandemic: “Your sacrifice is acceptable and necessary to ensure continued profit for me.” Anti-vaccination is as old as vaccination itself. Overcoming vaccine hesitancy has been a challenge since development of the COVID-19 vaccines started. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines vaccine hesitancy as “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services.” Hesitancy is multifactorial. Access issues (e.g., transportation, language barriers), fears of deportation over immigration status (COVID-19 vaccines are free for all U.S. residents, regardless of immigration status or access to insurance), and lack of healthcare infrastructure and resources also factor into vaccine delay or refusal. The current environment of vaccine hesitancy or outright anti-vaccination sentiment is not unique to COVID. Anti-vaccination is as old as vaccination itself. Yet, the story of disgraced physician Andrew Wakefield is helpful in better understanding the present debate around anti-vaccination, COVID-19 vaccines, and public health measures to minimize and control the spread of the virus. The entire modern anti-vaccination movement is based on a fraudulent “study.” Andrew Wakefield was a British physician who published a “study” in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet in 1998 that claimed to show a link between childhood immunization against measles, mumps, and rubella (the MMR polyvalent vaccine) and the subsequent development of “autistic enterocolitis” and autism. Importantly, Wakefield originally did not oppose vaccines. In multiple interviews at the time, he called for discontinuation of only the polyvalent vaccine and recommended three separate monovalent vaccines. The reason for this recommendation would become clear later. The conclusions of the study and its entire methodology soon came into question. Other researchers were unable to reproduce Wakefield’s findings. Subsequent reporting by investigative journalist Brian Deer uncovered fraud and abuse. It is important to know that Wakefield was hired by attorney Richard Barr to “research” MMR vaccines because Barr was interested in pursuing a class-action lawsuit against MMR manufacturers, despite no scientific evidence on which to base the lawsuit. Regarding his recommendation for separate vaccines against measles, rumps, and rubella, Wakefield submitted a patent for a measles vaccine the year before the study was published in…

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The vaccine: Misinformation and mandates