The announcement that Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective, is another piece of good news that signifies the tide might be turning on a tough year.
The vaccine, produced in partnership with AstraZeneca, is up to 90% effective – only slightly less than the 95% announced by Pfizer and Moderna, but still far better than a seasonal flu jab. The vaccine is also far cheaper, easier to transport, and simpler to administer than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, making it more viable for developing countries.
The government has ordered over 100 million doses of Oxford and AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is enough to immunise three quarters of the UK’s population. The vaccine is likely to be approved for use in the coming weeks, with the UK’s most expansive vaccination programme set to begin early next year.
Oxford and AstraZeneca’s breakthrough, alongside earlier vaccine announcements, bring renewed hope that an end to the pandemic restrictions are finally in sight. The positive news boosted European stocks, which hopefully signifies a turning point for investments. It would be great to see investment flowing back into small businesses, from both private and public resources.
After a few months of fear and uncertainty, the pandemic has led investors to reconsider what they are doing with their investible assets. We’re seeing a real shift in investors wanting to use their funds to back UK based businesses, as opposed to those overseas. This has in large part been fuelled by the resilience that small businesses have shown in their communities over the past few months.
In future, it is not unrealistic that the success of the UK economy as a whole may hinge on the prosperity of SMEs, start-ups and high-growth firms. The SME arena accounts for 99% of all businesses and employs around half of the private sector workforce, so investment in small businesses is going to be hugely important to the UK’s economic growth over the next few months and years.
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