Economist sees slower rebound as vaccine rollout gets push back

The sluggish vaccine rollout in the country is unlikely to help the economy post a convincing recovery this year, while the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants are likely to continue pushing back easing of restrictions.

While several analysts forecast this year’s growth between 5 to 7% mainly due to low base effects, Bernardo Villegas, economist at University of Asia & the Pacific, is pessimistic, penciling in a 4% gross domestic product expansion this year.

For Villegas, the slow procurement of vaccines does not inspire confidence, saying, “I am not optimistic in the short-run. Anywhere from the next 12 to 18 months… I’m disappointed at the very slow rollout of the vaccine.”

He added, “If you ask me, I think any significant rollout will be in the last quarter of this year. If not, the first quarter of 2022. And in the meantime there are more virulent varieties of COVID-19 and we are not that good in contact tracing.”

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