Published on November 24, 2020 by Holly Porter

What’s been happening in the commercial world over the last two weeks? Read on to find out!

Vaccine Updates

These past two weeks have seen encouraging news regarding COVID-19 vaccines. To date, the UK has secured 355m orders of vaccines across several candidate companies.

Pfizer and BioNTech were first to unveil their 95% effective vaccine, which they believe they can supply using their existing cold chain infrastructure to supply 50m vaccines in 2020 and 1.3bn by the end of 2021. The German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has outlined that to be effective, the vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees celsius, much colder than the average freezer. This is one of the main challenges for immunization managers. The UK has ordered 40m doses of the vaccine.

American biotechnology company Moderna announced their 94.5% effective vaccine only days later. Although the first 20m doses will be kept for US citizens, Moderna hopes it can produce over one billion doses for global use in 2021. the UK has secured 5m doses of the vaccine.

This week, British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca declared their vaccine as between 70-90% effective. The vaccine does not need to be stored in special temperatures (unlike Pfizer’s) and limited quantities can be available for the end of 2020. AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which was developed with the University of Oxford, is estimated to be the cheapest and become the most widely used in the UK. The government has already secured 100m doses of the vaccine.

Russia has also announced a 92% effective Sputnik V vaccine. However, little information is known so far of the conditions and price and the UK has not placed any orders.

Whilst both Pfizer and Moderna saw increases in their share price, AstraZeneca saw a fall of 3.8% after the announcement. AstraZeneca has made it clear that they will not earn profits from international bodies and governments from initial orders.

We are still awaiting results from the clinical trials of: Valneva, Novavax, Janssen and GSK/Sanofi.

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The Telecommunications Security Bill

After months of negotiations, Huawei’s ban in the UK will finally be enshrined in legislation. Assuming the bill is passed, UK telecoms networks will face tighter security restrictions with the installation ban coming into force in 2024. The bill accords the government national security powers to issue instructions and fines when companies do use high-risk suppliers and vendors such as Huawei. It is rumoured that any company which does not meet these higher standards will face a fine of £100,000 per day.

Hospitality Struggles

According to a new poll, 72% of UK pubs and restaurants expect to operate at a loss over the next two months, leaving many vulnerable to collapse. Ordinarily, the period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve has been described as the year’s ‘golden quarter’ with the sector invariably earning 40% of its annual revenue. However, the rest of 2020 remains bleak for the industry as even using the new tiering system post 2nd December will leave many vendors at limited capacity. It is estimated that there will be 750,000 fewer jobs in the sector in February 2021 compared with February 2020 with Chief Executive of UKHospitality noting that 660,000 jobs have already been lost.

How has COVID-19 affected the Hospitality Industry?

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