People ahead of politics with health care |

People ahead of politics with health care

When I was 4 years old, there was a polio epidemic infecting many children and putting some in iron lungs. The first vaccine came out two years later. I lined up with my first-grade classmates to get it. In subsequent years all children got the booster shots too at school. I don’t think we paid for it.

Vaccinations for diseases that cause serious disease, death or paralysis need to be available to all people. Who will distribute and pay for the COVID-19 vaccine that so many researchers are now working to develop? Will this be a Big Pharma hay day with outrageous charges so only the wealthy get protected?

Or will the governments around the world work with the World Health Organization to make the vaccination free or low-cost worldwide paid for by national governments who see the wisdom in putting health first to protect people and economies?

This is an issue that needs to be discussed and resolved now, so that when the vaccine is ready everyone can get it. In this case, who gets it first? Who is most at risk? This needs to be decided by doctors and epidemiologists, not by politicians.

Politicians need to be guided by physicians to make the best public health decisions possible on behalf of everyone. Health care should not be a political football. Health care should not be controlled by for-profit corporations where each procedure fills the pockets of overpaid CEOs. Our current private, expensive health insurance system results in more people of color deaths because not all can access life-long care.

Public health policy needs to be made and carried out for the welfare of all people by knowledgeable doctors and epidemiologists. Once the U.S. moves to a single-payer health care system that serves all people regardless of their financial status, we will have health care access and equity.

Then we can all line up for our vaccines 6 feet apart with masks on and say thank you!

Illene Pevec