The Coronavirus has easily been the most devastating thing to trail across the globe in 2020. Since the first documented case of COVID-19 late last year, it has spread around the world like wildfire. The virus was officially declared a pandemic in March of this year. In the seven months since, the world has shouldered more than 50 million cases and 1.26 million deaths. Consequently, the world of travel has been brought to an abrupt halt with the only plausible solution being a vaccine. Turns out, there is one on the horizon. Pfizer and BioNTech have developed a COVID-19 vaccine that may solve all (well, most) of our problems.
Covid-19 Vaccine May Finally Save the Day
Pfizer and BioNTech announced the stats on Monday revealing that their vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting COVID-19 and are calling it a “great day for science and humanity.” The drugs effectiveness rate puts it on par with highly effective childhood vaccines such as measles. The trial analysis covered 43,500 test subjects in six countries and raised no safety concerns.
Historically this is the fastest a vaccine has ever gone from the beginning stages to being proven highly effective. The positive numbers have left many scientists in amazement at the results. The pharmaceutical moguls state that they plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
Virtually everyone in the world of travel has felt the blow from this year’s virus. By May, nearly 50% of Americans cancelled their summer travel due to the pandemic. The mass border closures across the globe, mandatory quarantines and ever-changing landscape of the virus only added to the downfall of tourism this year. Small businesses from boutiques to BnB’s have closed their doors in waves. The big players have felt the heat, too with sweeping closures of well-known hotels such as NYC’s historic The Roosevelt.
Consequently, airlines have struggled to stay afloat and combat the cratering of their industry. The blow to the airline industry has been one of the worst with Europe’s airline capacity decreasing by 88%. According to a study done by Statista, an estimated revenue loss of around 21 and 38.8 billion U.S. dollars in North America and Europe respectively are expected this year.
Stocks Have Soared in Response to the Vaccine
Stocks have felt the excitement over the new vaccine, too. Shares of TripAdvisor jumped 21.67% while United Airlines gained as much as 27%. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines rallied 23% and 26%. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings all surged more than 30% following the announcement.
“This is a very positive development for the world, and, of course, our company and our brands, as well as the cruise industry. It is too early at this point to determine the impact this may have on the conditional sail order in the U.S., if any,” Carnival stated to CNBC.
Needless to say, the entire tourism industry rejoicing over the recent development and sees it as a giant leap forward.
Cause for Applause Just Yet?
The vaccine, in combination with improved treatments of infected patients, is a surefire way to get us back to normal. There are still several final analyses to be done which determine further effectiveness, but it is undoubtedly a massive step in the right direction.
Dr Albert Bourla, the chairman of Pfizer, said: “We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”
Much needed breakthrough is right. 2020 has been a year full of ups and downs related to Coronavirus. From unprecedented job losses to the sheer number of deaths, this year has dealt us all quite the blow. But this vaccine, further data and trials aside, provides at least a glimmer of hope.
If all goes to plan, Pfizer and BioNTeach will be doling out the vaccine to people across the globe by the end of the year. They plan to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. They will prioritize the doses according to risk factors such as age and previous existing conditions. Hospital staff and health care workers are also at the top of the list.