Hopes and fears are part of the massive global Covid vaccine rollout.
- Wednesday, January 27, 2021
There are some fears that the three new variants of Covid-19 are more transmissible and more deadly. The first extensive study of the UK discovered variant shows it to be 30% more lethal and 70% more infectious. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London suggested that the new variant was linked to the recent rise in UK mortality rates by about 30%. Other academics have however suggested that the greater numbers contracting Covid is the main reason for the higher death count.
It is encouraging to hear that AstraZeneca have a programme of vaccine development and modification aimed at countering new variants as they are discovered and that AstraZeneca are already planning to offer a multi vaccine against multi variants in one vaccine.
Along with the potential of the greater threat of the newly discovered Covid variants it is becoming clear that there is pressure on the manufacturing of vaccines. AstraZeneca has informed the EU that it will only be able to deliver 31 million of the 80 million vaccines ordered due to manufacturing and supply chain problems. The EU have reacted to this news by warning that it will restrict export of EU manufactured vaccines. This will not affect the UK supply of AstraZeneca jabs but may impact the Pfizer orders as they are manufactured in Belgium. The EU has yet to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine but is expected to do so on Friday.
It is good to hear that India, who is the worlds leading producer of the AstraZeneca vaccine has gifted vaccine supplies to its neighbouring countries. The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines and has already shipped millions of doses to Nepal, Bhutan Myanmar, Bangladesh and the Maldives. The 1.5 million doses sent to Myanmar will provide sufficient supplies to inoculate 750,000 people which is enough to reach full herd immunity.
There have been fears that the developed world will get the early supplies of vaccines at the expense of poorer countries. The World Health Organisation initiative Covax is a global initiative to ensure all the people of the world get access to a Covid vaccination. Covax hopes that by the end of 2021 more than 2 billion dosed will have been delivered to the 92 poorer countries in the scheme. With the global population of 7.8 billion it will take time to reach all, but 2 million jabs this year will give immunity to the elderly and most vulnerable and therefore reduce mortality rates.
The UK has provided £548m to the Covax scheme which has already raised US$2.4bn towards its target of US$4.6bn to purchase sufficient vaccine supplies. Covax is a very important initiative by the WHO as some countries simply cannot afford the cost of mass population vaccinations.
It is also pleasing to hear that Israel who is the leading country in the race to immunisation, has announced that 0.015% of those people who have received both doses of the vaccine have since developed Covid. In tests only 20 people out of 128,000 vaccinated caught the disease. This is the strongest indication that the vaccines are highly effective.
Chris DaviesChartered Financial Adviser
Chris is a Chartered Independent Financial Adviser and leads the investment team.