Pandemic & Long Covid Response
According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our country’s inadequate response to COVID-19 has resulted in over 1.1 million deaths and on average over 3200 people hospitalized daily. This means that the pandemic should return to status as a national emergency. Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, tens of millions have become unemployed and currently face eviction. Persons with disabilities and in particular those who are immunocompromised have been significantly impacted. What is concerning is that according to the CDC only 17 percent of people in the U.S. are current on their booster shots.
Many in the US have been skeptical about the efficacy of vaccines, however the strong scientific evidence is that vaccines work, even if their efficacy is not 100 percent. One of the main reasons people are skeptical about vaccines, aside from rampant disinformation, is the distrust of the for-profit pharmaceutical industry, which has made massive profits from the sale of Covid-19 vaccines. In 2022, Moderna alone made $18.4 billion in profit from Covid-19 vaccine sales. However, much of the research and development of vaccines is done by publicly funded institutions.
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The Williamson Administration will:
- Review and update the 2006 Pandemic Preparedness Act (reauthorized in 2013 and updated in 2019, prior to COVID) and ensure that our pandemic preparedness is fully funded.
- Restore public trust in vaccine science is to end the financialization of vaccines. While Moderna just recently said it may increase the price of their Covid-19 vaccine to $130, Baylor University in Texas developed not one, but two Covid-19 vaccines whose formulas were provided to countries in the global south so those countries could provide low cost vaccines to their people. Vaccines are a critical medicine that the American public needs to trust, now and in the case of future pandemics.
- Vaccines should be provided free to the public as part of a universal healthcare program.
- Personal protective equipment such as N-95 type masks, and all pandemic testing (which should include viral load testing) should be free at pharmacies. If existing pharmaceutical companies refuse to produce such necessities at cost to the federal government, then the federal government will produce them.
- Mandate and provide funding for high quality air filtration code improvements for all public transportation, buildings and businesses.
- We must implement Universal Healthcare, and ensure we have the facilities and trained medical staff to meet the continuing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and any future pandemics.
A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences stated that over 330,000 Covid-19 deaths could have been prevented if we had a universal healthcare program.
In order to encourage entry into the medical profession among our graduating high school seniors, we must relieve the burden of student debt. Doctors should not be coming out of eight or more years of school hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Universal healthcare and tuition free public college will be key components of addressing pandemics.
- We must recognize and address the long term effects of Covid-19. A recent study by the Center for American Progress identified that Covid-19 likely increased the disabled population in the United States by over 1.2 million persons just from 2020 to 2021. This has had dramatic impacts on people who had relied on their daily work, but can no longer do those jobs to the extent they previously were able.
Long Covid has caused both cognitive and physical impairments, and we must ensure those affected are protected in their workplace, as well as with the potential impacts to their housing and healthcare needs. As a country, we cannot compromise on relieving the trauma inflicted upon working people, and disabled and otherwise marginalized communities.