COVID-19 vaccines play critical role in economic recovery

Virus Outbreak Pfizer Vaccine Effectiveness

FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe with Pfizer’s vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination site in New York (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Vaccines aren’t just important for protecting people from COVID-19. They also play a critical role in our economic recovery.

“And so, when we’re looking for the economy to get back to normal, whatever that is, perhaps some time later this year, at least closer to normal, I think that it could be held back to some degree by either those who don’t have immunity from COVID-19, those who don’t trust the vaccine or those who are just perhaps worried or fearful in general,” said Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate.

Newly released Bankrate findings show more Americans are willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine now than some other surveys this year – about 7 out of 10.

But of those who do get the shots, about a quarter, say they still won’t feel comfortable at local businesses even though many believe vaccines are instrumental in getting the economy back on track.

“We think about everything from venturing outside the house, to going back to the classroom, to enjoying live sports and entertainment, to dining out, to traveling, whether it’s essentially, across town, across the state,” said Hamrick.

There are positive economic signs within the stock market and housing, and a new focus on communities that historically are on the lower end of the wealth gap.

“They’re going to be further resources thrown at it, and so there is a very good prospect that we could be experiencing something on the order of a boom here in the second half of the year, as Americans and indeed people all over the world look to celebrate what may well be the end of the pandemic,” said Hamrick.

One concern is that the pace of adding jobs has slowed.

The head of the Federal Reserve signaled Tuesday that they don’t plan on raising interest rates soon, something that has helped boost the economy.

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