In September 2022 Biden declared in a 60 Minutes broadcast that the “pandemic is over”. Despite acknowledging that “we still have a problem” with COVID-19, he suggested that we were past the worst of it. This had consequences for companies such as Moderna and Pfizer, who saw a dramatic fall in shares.
As reported in MarketWatch, the “three key vaccine makers” experienced a sharp decline in stocks:
- Moderna fell 9.2%
- Pfizer fell 1.7%
- BioNTech fell 8.4%
Furthermore, Novavax was down 9%. The Financial Times suggested that the sell-off reflected “concerns over demand” for COVID vaccines during “increasing public apathy”. Fuelling this public belief is the popular message that the “crisis phase” of the pandemic is “coming to an end”. Although the government is promoting further immunisation with the bivalent vaccines, reports suggest that uptake for Omicron variant boosters is “lower than anticipated”. It looks as if the US sales of COVID vaccines will “begin to resemble a more typical market such as influenza shots” according to the Financial Times.
In July 2022 the Biden administration renewed the designation of COVID-19 as a public health emergency. However, since this decision was taken several “senior officials” have downgraded the threat assessment. Several health experts have criticised Biden’s comments. Dr Fauci is concerned about the tension between politics and childhood vaccination efforts, and others believe that the administration is “declaring victory too soon”. Dr Eric Topol, founder of the Scripps Research translational Institute, tweeted that the “magical thinking on the new bivalent boosters” was affecting the government’s “will to get ahead”.
WHO remains optimistic the end of the pandemic, provided health leaders continue to “run” towards a metaphorical marathon finish. For more on this read our previous piece here. Despite this optimism, around 400 Americans continue to die each day from coronavirus-related illnesses.
For more on a sustained approach against future variants come to the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022.