A health care worker holds a syringe from the Phase 3 vaccine study against the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) by the US company Pfizer and developed by the German BioNTech company. 2020.
Dogukan Keskinkilic | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The announcement earlier this week that an effective coronavirus vaccine was being developed was enthusiastically received by global markets, but UBS chairman Axel Weber warned that even with a vaccine, it will take some time for the global economy to return to pre-crisis levels .
“In the future I’m not pessimistic. I mean, at some point we will get through it. But we should not be under the illusion that it will be quick, it will take some time,” Weber told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche on Tuesday.
“It would take at least a year to return to pre-crisis GDP (gross domestic product). It will be another year or two before unemployment and growth are close to before the crisis, a long rebound before us stand, “he said.
The hope that life and the economy could return to normal sooner rather than later got a huge boost on Monday than US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German company BioNTech announced that their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19. Pfizer’s CEO and Chairman Dr. Albert Bourla welcomed the development as “a great day for science and humanity” and stock markets around the world rose.
Optimism about the announcement has been tempered, given the likely difficult logistics of mass producing and shipping a vaccine with a dose of reality, especially when time is of the essence in saving lives and livelihoods.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses per person and current forecasts suggest that only 25 million people could be vaccinated by the end of the year. Pfizer and BioNTech anticipate up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. The world population is estimated at around 7.5 billion and disputes could arise over which countries will get the vaccine first, despite governments in Europe, the UK and the US have already bought millions of cans.
When asked about his response to the vaccine, Weber said while “it was definitely good news” it would take time to put vaccination programs in place at the national and global levels. Covid-19 vaccines are expected to be given to those in the health and service professions, as well as the most vulnerable members of society, first before being rolled out to the rest of the population.
“We’ve been waiting for good news for a while … and the latest news has been really well received by the market. But you know you have to take this with a grain of salt,” warned Weber.
“The disappointing part of the news was that the number of vaccinations that can be produced in a year is much fewer than expected. If you look at the rollout, it will be some time before we roll out that out.”
When asked what the vaccine means for the Swiss lender’s forecast for 2021, Weber was cautiously optimistic.
“You know, if such a levy does actually affect economic activity, some tail risks will be removed and some human suffering will be greatly ameliorated. But it is a long way (before). We are getting anything close to what people call mass immunity, “he said.