The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked states to be ready to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by late October.
Drugmaker Pfizer thinks it will have enough data to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize its potential vaccine next month.
Most experts think it's unlikely -- but not impossible -- that a vaccine will be ready ahead of the US election. But with at least seven candidates in phase 3 trials, it's very likely that at least one successful vaccine will emerge in the months to come. Pharmaceutical companies are also racing to develop effective treatments for the disease.
An effective vaccine has been touted as the magic bullet that will allow the global economy to quickly shift back into gear. Yet there are reasons why the recovery may be slow going: vaccines are typically not 100% effective and there will be a limited number of doses to go around.
Distribution could be a problem, both between countries and within them. Even if those challenges are overcome, some people may choose not to take the vaccine.
Neil Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics, wrote recently in a research note that there are a range of potential outcomes for economies once a vaccine is certified. And it would be wrong, he said, to assume that a vaccine will transform the economic outlook for next year.
"At one end of the spectrum lies a highly effective vaccine that is produced and distributed quickly. At the other lies a less effective vaccine that faces significant production and distribution challenges and would be in relatively short supply in 2021," he said. "In most scenarios in between, it is likely that containment measures, including social distancing and restrictions on some foreign travel, will remain in place for the foreseeable future."
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