Slow vaccinations costing Dutch economy €900 million weekly
The slow distribution of vaccines in the Netherlands could force a lengthy lockdown in the Netherlands which will cost the Dutch economy 900 million euros weekly, according to a report from credit insurance firm Euler Hermes and insurer Allianz. The whole of the European Union would have to ramp up the process by six-fold in order to inoculate 70 percent of the adult population by this summer, the stated goal of the European Commission.
“At the current vaccination speed, herd immunity would only be reached by end-2022,” the report showed. Quickly vaccinating the at-risk populations in EU countries at a minimum would allow for more easing of social restrictions without placing significant strain on the healthcare system, and thus allowing for more sustainable economic recovery, the researchers argued.
“The economic cost of the delay compares to the cost of the vaccines by a ratio of four to one,” the report stated. “In other words, one Euro spent on accelerating vaccination (i.e. infrastructure, increase vaccine production) could save EU countries four times as many Euros in lost output.”
As of the beginning of February, the European Union’s vaccination plan was running about five weeks behind schedule. The economy could return to pre-crisis levels by the middle of next year if the pace of vaccination picks up.
“Given insufficient progress on the vaccination front by mid-2021, the EU will need to maintain restrictions in place to avert a third wave and in turn a triple-dip. Political discontent is likely to skyrocket once countries including Israel, newly-departed EU member Britain and/or the US enter a consumption-led growth spurt in the second half of 2021,” the researchers said.
The discontent could be most visible in countries where elections will be held soon. Dutch voters are set to go to the polls in March which will shake up the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Parliament, and will ultimately usher in a new Cabinet. Elections are also planned in Germany in September, and France in April 2022.