The big unknown on the other side of a successful vaccine: Morning Brief

Monday October 12, 2020
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Will people take the vaccine when it becomes available?
"The vaccine is more important than the election result in restoring the fundamentals of the S&P 500 (^ GSPC)," Goldman Sachs' David Kostin said in a statement to customers on Friday.
On Thursday, Goldman Sachs received biotech leaders for a discussion on COVID-19 vaccines.
"Your view of both vaccines and treatments remains optimistic," noted Kostin. Key takeaways from the event include: "Several vaccines are advancing late in development based on encouraging initial data, and one panelist estimates that the vaccines have a greater than 90% chance of success."
We don't have any news about a successful COVID-19 vaccine yet. However, it is certainly not too early for economic and financial market forecasters to consider what will happen after a vaccine is available. And sadly, most agree that the availability of a vaccine isn't necessarily a clear signal that things are getting back to normal (or whatever may be normal once the fear of infection wears off).
"The greatest challenge for vaccine intake will not necessarily be storage and distribution in the cold store, but rather convince the broader population to get vaccinated", quoted Kostin as taking away from the event.
Vaccine uptake is something Wall Street experts find difficult to incorporate into their predictions.
"The big unknown is how many people will be ready to take a successful vaccine," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in a research note in early September. “With the speed at which vaccines are being developed and the economic damage that has occurred in the meantime, concerns have increased. In particular, the policy incentives for a vaccine have led many to worry that normal robust processes will follow. "
The question of the vaccine's vaccination and its development was raised on Wednesday night during the Vice Presidential Debate when Candidate Kamala Harris said, “If health professionals, when Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, when the doctors tell us to take it I'll be the first to take it. Absolutely. But when Donald Trump tells us to take it. I do not take it. "
According to a poll by the Pew Research Center in early September, 49% of adults in the US said they would "definitely" or "probably" not take the vaccine if it were available "today".
"Concerns about side effects and uncertainties about the effectiveness of a vaccine are often cited as reasons by those who would not receive a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available today," the Pew authors summarized the results. "Many Americans think it is likely that a vaccine will be used before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood."
Wide uptake of a vaccine would be one of the ways we might see herd immunity, or as Johns Hopkins epidemiologists explain, "When the bulk of a population is immune to an infectious disease, it offers indirect protection - or herd immunity (also called herd protection). - for those who are not immune to the disease. "Herd immunity is a condition that many believe makes it easy for people to get involved in activities like they did before COVID-19.
(The question of whether the government could or would mandate a vaccine is another complicated matter that my colleague Javier David investigated in August.)
"There will be many unanswered questions for a number of years," JPMorgan's John Normand wrote last month, specifically pointing out vaccine intake and vaccine effectiveness.
And so we'll see. However, investors should keep this in mind if they want to make changes to their portfolios after a vaccine is announced.
By Sam Ro, Managing Editor. Follow him at @SamRo
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