Why One Bank Is Optimistic On The COVID Vaccine Rollout

If 2020 was the year of covid, 2021 will be the year of the covid vaccine according to Bank of America. And, as such, the year will revolve around the success of vaccines, Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid writes in his Chart of the Day note just back from vacation and fully recharged.

Yet despite some rather substantial problems in the early rollout of vaccines, both as a result of logistical and supply issues as well as lack of faith among the general public in the hastily created concoction, Reid writes that he is relatively optimistic on the roll-out, and notes that one of the reasons for said optimism is that “logistically many countries are set up to administer the flu shot and that take up is pretty high for those over 65.”

So, you should have the framework and infrastructure already in place in several countries. This is easier with vaccines like the  xford/AZN one which can be stored in a standard fridge in a similar way to the flu jab. Supply might initially be more of a binding constraint than logistics.

In his first Chart of the Day for 2021, Reid shows the % of the over 65 year olds in many countries receiving the flu jab in the last available year of data (up to 2019). Korea, UK and US top the list with EU countries lagging a little but with most above 50%.

Meanwhile, last night UK PM Boris Johnson suggested that the new lockdown could be lifted in some form in mid-February with around 14 million in vulnerable groups hopefully inoculated by then. While at first glance this sounds highly ambitious and in reality probably is, Reid observes that the UK administered around 15 million flu jabs in the 2019/20 flu season (albeit over a few months).

However, given the urgency of the situation relative to the normal flu season, the DB credit strategist says that “it doesn’t seem a complete logistical mountain to climb to get close to the goal.” As a point of reference, the strategist notes that “the US vaccinated over 160 million people in the 2019/20 flu season across all age groups.

His conclusion, while “there is a large mountain to climb but we climb smaller ones every year with a minimum of fuss.”