The US rushing out booster shots left markets thinking the White House knows something they don’t

The vaccine picture is dimming

It’s all about covid this week so let’s dive in.

Two notes have my attention today and they highlight the uncertainty around trends in the virus.

The first is from JPMorgan, where analysts sound like they’ve given up on amateur virology.

“wide differences in the paths now being followed across high vaccination rate countries. .. With none of these countries [UK, US, EU, Israel] implementing material new restrictions, the underlying dynamic driving the Delta wave [remains] unclear.”

Another note comes from National Bank as they zero in on Israel’s spike in cases, citing numbers from a Science article that has been doing the round on trading desks, namely that 60% of the 514 hospitalized Israelis with covid have been vaccinated twice.

“The rise in so-called breakthrough cases in Israel offers a cutionary tale on teh efficacy of vaccines alone to quickly end the pandemic,” they wrote.

The real dagger came from the White House, which surprised many by approving booster shots for all Americans over-18 starting on Sept 20. People will be eligible 8 months after their final dose.

Many public health officials were surprised that it wasn’t limited to the elderly or vulnerable but the worry is that trends in vaccine efficacy have the White House worried and/or convinced that boosters are critically necessary.

While the US will be able to quickly deliver a 3rd shot, that’s not the case in most of the world and in some places it could mean a materially slower recovery.

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