A slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccines poses a growing downside risk to economic recovery, warns BMO Capital Markets.
A BMO report said Canada is lagging countries that granted early approval to Covid-19 vaccines. While Canada has only inoculated 0.32% of its population so far, the U.S. and the U.K. are already at 1.42%.
The global leader is Israel, which has already vaccinated 13.5% of its people.
“Canada has been a relative underperformer given its early approval compared to some other G7 countries,” BMO said in its report.
“Some of the sluggish pace may simply reflect teething pains that might get smoothed in the weeks ahead; if not, current robust expectations for activity later this year may soon see some serious scaling back,” BMO cautioned.
Given expectations that countries need to get between 60% and 80% of their populations vaccinated to reach herd immunity, there’s a long way to go before that threshold is achieved.
This, in turn, poses a downside risk to the economic recovery.
“Clearly the pace of vaccine distribution is a critical element for the outlook, and arguably should be the number one priority for policymakers,” BMO said.
To get to 60% by the end of September, Canada will have to ramp up its current rate of around 40,000 doses per week to around 550,000 vaccinations per week, it estimated.
At this point, “it looks like governments may have to redouble their efforts to inoculate enough people to reach herd immunity by fall 2021,” the report said.