50% Of Population In Major Developed Markets Will Be Vaccinated By May, Goldman Projects

Right, but when?

That’s the question the whole world wants answered when it comes to the vaccination push.

The last several weeks have delivered plenty in the way of encouraging data on COVID-19 vaccines, contributing to a powerful pro-cyclical rotation across assets, even as the US long-end refuses to join in on the reflationary euphoria (Friday saw more bull flattening, for example).

But with the pandemic still raging and worries that holiday gatherings will lead to even more infections, market participants are anxious about the timeline on widespread inoculation and herd immunity.

Last Sunday, Moncef Slaoui, head of the US government’s cartoonishly-named “Operation Warp Speed,” projected that “70% or so” of the population could be immunized “somewhere in the month of May.” (As an aside, Slaoui told Politico this week he might step down from his role as early as next month.)

In a note dated Thursday evening, Goldman attempted to “forecast monthly vaccinations for the large advanced economies,” no easy (or precise) task, to be sure.

“We use monthly global production projections from our health care equity analysts for Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson,” the bank said, noting that “the projections assume that production gradually rises in early 2021 and achieves the announced targets.”

Goldman, Ipsos

The bank incorporated purchase agreements and options across countries, and analyzed survey responses from Ipsos to tackle the demand side question which, for some, is the more vexing quandary. “This survey suggests that most people expect to wait some time before taking it, consistent with wanting to learn more about safety, side effects, and effectiveness,” the bank said, recapping, on the way to suggesting that demand is probably more elevated now than it was in October, due to the release of positive trial results from Pfizer and Moderna.

Ultimately, Goldman said their baseline forecast sees “large shares of the population vaccinated by the end of Q2 in all major” developed markets. The UK should vaccinate half of its population in March, Goldman remarked, and projected the 50% threshold will be reached in April for the US and Canada, and in May for the EU, Japan, and Australia.


Is there a downside case? Well, yes. Specifically, Goldman also posited a scenario where shots from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson don’t succeed and public demand is less robust.

That would entail low vaccination levels in the EU (due to reliance on AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson) and slower inoculation in the US and Japan, as public skepticism around a shot holds back demand.

Tellingly, Canada and Australia are seen faring much better in the downside scenario due to what Goldman called “diversified supply contracts and relatively strong vaccine demand measures.” On my interpretation, that’s just a diplomatic way of saying that those two countries have highly competent governments and a saner general populace.


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10 thoughts on “50% Of Population In Major Developed Markets Will Be Vaccinated By May, Goldman Projects

  1. Hopefully this vaccine gets added to the list of vaccines required for admittance to public schools.
    Also, evidence of having a covid vaccine should be required in order to board an airplane. Even if airlines do not do that, I am guessing anyone who wants to fly to Europe (e.g.) would be required to provide proof of vaccine in order to get through immigration.

    1. Quanta’s came out a couple of days ago with a statement that once a COVID shot is available only those with proof of getting a vaccination will be allowed on board. I can see where that will become the standard for international flights and I would hope here in the US too.

      1. How long will that last if people don’t get vaccinated and thus can’t fly. Remember business always comes first in the developed economies, a major reason the problem is so large in the first place. I still don’t believe vaccine distribution will be as easy as people think. I’ll have to get two appointments with my doctor whose office will have to have a high-end freezer. As an old friend used to say, I’ll have to put my hand in the wound on this one.

        1. If the destination countries require it, they will make the airlines require it. Failure to enforce would mean big fines, or even loss of airport slots. Its how many countries enforce visa / immigration controls. I understand the Aussie’s have already said this. European countries will do this too.

        2. You won’t get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, at least not with the PFE or MRNA vaccines.

          The shelf life of these two vaccines and the supply are too limited to send doses to individual primary care docs, even if those docs have the necessary cold storage. The vaccines need to be delivered to places that can administer thousands of shots in a few days. This will hopefully change as both vaccine supply and stability improve, but I think that’s not happening until 2H21 or later.

          Vaccination logistics will be difficult and I suspect the state-to-state variation will be large.

  2. This article is another example of the service that you provide to readers. You distill complex information from otherwise mostly unobtainable, to this reader, at least, reports and commentary.

    You have a kind of a riff on the SaaS model going on, (D)istilling (C)omplex (I)nformation as a (S)ervice.

  3. Delta and Alitalia starting a service which incorporates minimally 3 covid tests. Vacine may become part of what used to be the yellow inoculation card we used to fly with. I will have to dig that up.

  4. Of the countries/regions shown, only the US and Canada have their entire populations’ needs covered with contracted volumes of the two vaccines so far shown to be highly effective (PFE, MRNA 95%). That is a big advantage for those countries.

    On the other hand, the US vaccination program risks being slow and disorganized, as OWS has now indicated it will allocate doses to states by population and leave vaccination plans and logistics up to the states.

    Australia is almost entirely dependent on AZN and NVAX. Not good as AZN’s vaccine so far appears to be only moderately effective (62%) and NVAX hasn’t even really started phase 3 trials. The UK and EU have a similar problem, though less severe. Japan is probably organized enough to allocate each vaccine to the appropriate population.

    Not shown are China and Rest of World. China will rely on domestic vaccines (SinoPharm, SinoVac and CanSino), which have reported little data and have not looked great in what’s been reported. China will likely allocate a significant amount of its vaccine production to “vaccine diplomacy”, as they can control Covid through societal means. Most emerging countries will depend on AZN, the Chinese vaccines, and perhaps JNJ and other programs that are further behind. I would be surprised if most EMs have achieved even 20% vaccination by the end of 2021.

  5. Another thought.

    You can model out new Covid cases and deaths after vaccination begins, based on vaccine efficacy, decline of acquired immunity, vaccine refusal rate, speed of vaccinations, and how effectively the virus continues to spread among the population neither vaccinated nor with acquired immunity. The last is uncertain, but I think it could be “quite effectively“ because many countries – and likely the US – will quickly abandon societal controls (masks, business restrictions, social distancing) after vaccination is underway. Also, there is so far little evidence that the vaccines are very good at preventing asymptomatic infection, meaning that a vaccinated person could still acquire and transmit the virus while suffering no ill effects, sort of like Typhoid Mary. So those still vulnerable will be liberally exposed among a population of Typhoid Marys.

    I’ve built this model and it suggests that in 2022 Covid will still be with us, at a reduced level – in the US, perhaps low tens of millions of new cases/yr and low tens of thousands of deaths/yr. When Dr. Fauci warns that the virus is not going to be eliminated quickly, I believe he is accurate.

    On the one hand, from a macro level, a low-level endemic form of Covid is probably unimportant. On the other hand, the funding and impetus to develop therapeutic treatments for Covid will probably remain.

    To date, investors have not been well rewarded for investing in Covid therapeutics (GILD, REGN, LLY). I think that will change.

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