Yellow fever broke out a year ago in Luanda, Angola. By July 2016 it had spread to Congo, threatening Kinshasa with the biggest urban epidemic in decades. For the first time ever, it reached Asia. With global climate change extending the range of mosquitoes that carry yellow fever, it might even have reached Europe. Latin America is now at greater risk of urban epidemics than at any time in the past 50 years.
No new cases have been reported for four months, and the immediate threat is considered over. Things could have been much worse. But we still need to ask WHY this epidemic broke out and WHY another could follow.
An effective vaccine was developed in the 1930s. It is produced in chicken eggs for about $1 per dose. The cost of vaccinating every one of the 7.4 billion people on the planet – even those not in at-risk areas – would be about 40% less than the cost of one new US aircraft carrier. It would cost only a tiny fraction of an estimated $24 trillion stashed in secret off-shore accounts.
So why isn’t there a stockpile of the vaccine at least large enough to halt the spread of yellow fever when an epidemic threatens? Why do only four major manufacturers produce it?
According to the New York Times (12/3/16),”because profits are low, many manufacturing companies dropped it.”
Every death from yellow fever is a murder committed by capitalism.
In a world without money, profits won’t be an issue. Communist society could and will train many more people to produce yellow fever vaccine. We will have no problem keeping adequate stockpiles on hand of this and other life-saving vaccines and medications.
Even more critically, communist society will mobilize masses to eradicate or contain the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries yellow fever, zika, dengue and other diseases. Integrated pest control methods already exist and we will develop others. The cost, ultimately, is human labor – and we will have plenty of that.
Yellow fever is still a threat because we haven’t eradicated capitalism with communist revolution.