"The vaccination programmes of each country are moving at different speeds"
An opinion piece from John Wyn-Evans, Head of Investment Strategy at Investec.
A few years ago, I was on holiday in Malta. If you’ve never been there, you might not know that the roads are pretty much entirely single lane, single carriageway, and sufficiently winding in most places to make overtaking impossible. Although it’s not very far from one end of Malta to the other – about 30km – the time it takes to make the journey is very much dependent upon the speed of the slowest driver on the road. And I can tell you that the Maltese are generally not people in a hurry. I named this the “slowest common denominator” problem. Is it possible that we are going to witness similar hold-ups on the road to post-COVID normalisation?
Last week I highlighted some research illustrating how difficult it would be to reach herd immunity in countries where the highly infectious Delta variant is prominent, with the hurdle being potentially as high as a 90% vaccination rate, at least in the absence of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Funnily enough, Malta is the only country that is anywhere near that number, with 80.4% having received one dose, and 60.7% having had two, but the rates drop off pretty quickly after that. Israel is also high on the list, but it is notable that Israel’s vaccination rate has tailed off sharply after a very strong initial rollout. There the respective figures are 64% and 59.5%.
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