Bank of England governor hails vaccine as economy stalls
Andrew Bailey is optimistic about the vaccine's potential to reduce economic damage.
LONDON — The advent of a coronavirus vaccine is good news for businesses in limiting the long-term damage the pandemic does to the economy, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said today.
U.S. company Pfizer and their German partners BioNTech this week announced a highly effective vaccine could be ready for deployment shortly, with the British health secretary saying distribution before Christmas was possible.
However, experts have cautioned that the vaccine would not mean life immediately returns to normal.
“The earlier the vaccine comes into effect the more positive that is,” Bailey said. “The sooner that way out of COVID comes into effect, the more businesses are likely to survive in financial terms.”
The comments come as new gross domestic product figures from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics show the economic recovery stalled in September, leaving output 8.2 percent below where it was at the onset of the health crisis in February. Growth for September came in at 1.1 percent.
“Today’s ONS data suggest that the recovery from the first phase of the pandemic was already slowing by the end of the third quarter,” said Dr Kemar Whyte, economist with the London-based National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
The U.K. economy in the last three months of the year is likely to shrink again, putting the country further behind where it was before COVID-19, “thanks to stagnation in October and a second lockdown in England from November,” he added.