The impressive development of Covid-19 vaccines in record time has generated expectations of a swift global economic recovery this year. The treatments offer promising signals, with the number of doses provided in just over a month already exceeding the global volume of reported infection cases in nearly a year. Other remarkable milestones have also taken place at a country-specific level, with Israel having already jabbed 73 per 100 people and the UK having covered 15-million of its higher-risk population by mid-February.
However, while the groundbreaking scientific achievement is set to shorten the road to global immunisation against Covid-19, a substantial number of challenges still lie ahead. Crucially, the availability of enough vaccines to attain herd immunity results worldwide has been in focus since the early vaccination stages.
This has led to divergences between countries in terms of vaccine implementation widening further, with difficulties mainly arising on the supply side. Suppliers have committed to the target of delivering enough doses for nearly the entire global population in 2021, but delayed production and uneven distribution challenge this goal. Risks are exponentially higher for the countries lagging behind, as slow vaccination increases the vulnerability to potentially more resilient strains of the virus.
As markets focus on the distribution of vaccines, both on a country and global level, in order to gauge the timeline for the scaling back of lockdown measures and the resumption of economic recoveries, our monthly vaccine distribution chartbook will log developments in vaccine distribution and the viability of government targets in major economies.
A promising milestone was achieved in just over a month, when the number of vaccinations surpassed the global record of Covid-19 cases of nearly a year
Note: The rate of vaccinations delivered globally outstrips the cumulative number of cases, however, there are some caveats to this data. Firstly, the number of vaccine doses administered doesn’t equate to the same number of the population being vaccinated, as some people have received both shots of the two-dose regimes of most vaccines. Meanwhile, worldwide cases are likely to be much higher in reality due to limited testing capabilities in some nations. Regardless, the trend of the development highlights the increased level of optimism over the recovery.
Leaders and laggards are already visible in the race to vaccinate
Joint efforts by vaccine suppliers suggest vaccine delivery will be enough to cover widespread demand in 2021…but the devil is in the distribution
Note: Data from Goldman Sachs. Treatments are assumed 2 doses per capita apart from J&J and CanSino, which are 1. Volumes include 2020 production.
A GUIDELINE TO VACCINATION PLANS
Vaccine distribution has varied widely across countries due to contracts, the timing of vaccine´s emergency authorization, production capacity, etc. Based on this, some governments have already set targets for their vaccination programs, which have been used by market participants to determine the timing for a substantial lifting of economic restrictions.
At the current speed of daily vaccinations, however, goals for widespread immunisation don’t look like a theme of the near future.
According to a tool developed by Bloomberg, it could take years to achieve herd immunity in a number of countries at current vaccination rates. This tracker suggests, for example, that while the UK and the US would need 6 and 8 months to vaccinate 75% of their population respectively, Canada and Mexico would achieve the same results in over 5 and 10 years respectively.
Under a constant rate of daily vaccinations, it would take years to overcome the pandemic on a global scale
Contingent on capacity and distribution, however, a more realistic vaccination path could be associated with a logarithmic pace of daily jabs, as opposed to a flat one. A common factor observed in most countries is that once the rollout campaigns start, the daily vaccination rate tends to increase smoothly with time. This is likely to be the case until countries achieve a certain level of population immunity, at which point, the pace in which vaccinations are delivered steadies thereafter. Following this reasoning, we use a logarithmic function to project the pace of daily vaccination throughout the year for different countries. Translating those projections into cumulative doses administered throughout time allows us to assess whether or not the government plans currently set out are realistic and achievable under the assumption of logarithmic distribution rates.
While the UK and the US are on track to hit their targets under their current dynamics, European countries and Canada will be forced to boost their efforts in the following months if they want to comply with the planned schedule.
Note: Government plans for the end of September equate to the EU-wide target
Author: Olivia Alvarez Mendez, FX Market Analyst