When a ship is sinking, women and children are usually saved first. In a pandemic, just the opposite happens. After AstraZeneca became the last major pharmaceutical company to announce that its vaccine offers a high degree of protection against Covid-19 yesterday, older people have high hopes of being able to get vaccinated soon. Instead, the younger ones will have to wait longer. Investors with a quick recovery may be disappointed.
It makes perfect sense to vaccinate the most vulnerable. In Great Britain, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has stated that if the vaccine were inoculated in people over 50 years of age, health workers and people whose immune systems function worse, 99% of the cases would be avoided. deaths from Covid-19. This would allow countries that have imposed tough restrictions to protect their health systems to begin reopening their economies.
The imminent arrival of multiple vaccines makes this a real possibility. AstraZeneca claims that its treatment, developed together with the University of Oxford, could be effective in up to 90% of patients if they receive the right dose. Rival vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna appear to be 95% effective.
However, a rapid rollout of vaccines remains highly ambitious. In the UK alone there are 3.2 million people aged 80 and over, and they are the first in line to get the vaccine. Due to the high risk of infection, the authorities will be reluctant to offer to get the vaccine in hospitals or doctor’s offices. Some countries are considering the possibility of setting up centers accessible by car for the two doses, to be administered one month apart.
To achieve herd immunity, with which the virus stops spreading, it is necessary to vaccinate around 70% of the population, according to the World Health Organization. Skeptics are another impediment. Only 40% of Americans say they will sign up for a first-generation vaccine, according to an index compiled by Axios and Ipsos.
Even if they are willing, young people and others without disabilities may have to wait until 2022 to get vaccinated, according to the WHO. While some are willing to live with the risk, others are likely to continue to avoid public transportation and large crowds. This will limit the recovery of corporate profits.
Investors are pricing in a faster recovery. Analysts expect companies in the MSCI Global Index to post a 17% drop in profits this year, according to JP Morgan data, but next year’s results would exceed 2019 levels. Despite good news on the matter From vaccines, those expectations could be tainted by euphoria.