Research Briefing | Apr 7, 2021

Global | Coronavirus Watch: When is the vaccine tipping point?

Despite increasing numbers of new coronavirus cases globally, the possibility that more economies will enjoy both limited domestic restrictions and sustained low new case numbers is growing closer thanks to ongoing vaccination rollouts.

Indeed, the persistent decline in the number of new cases in Israel, even after the reopening of the economy in early March, implies the country has already reached the tipping point allowing fewer restrictions while maintaining lower case numbers. However, it is difficult to tell with certainty exactly when the corner was turned, and the level of immunity needed within the domestic population.

Although the UK is rapidly rolling out vaccines and is experiencing a persistent drop in case numbers, it remains unclear whether mass vaccination or persistent restrictions are leading the improving health situation. Meanwhile, the US and Chile have vaccinated a significant share of their populations but are still recording rising case numbers.

It is uncertain whether any economies other than Israel have reached the tipping point where restrictions can be eased while keeping case numbers low.

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