A recent study conducted by 9 economists from the eminent French Council of Economic Analysis and the Bruegel Research Institute indicates that in just the first six months since its first use, the COVID pass has already had a substantial positive economic impact.
The authoritative journal “Financial Times” felt this research so relevant that it chose to prominently feature an article on this academic study on the very day it was published.
The study concludes that in just a few months the use of the COVID pass as the main pandemic related restriction measure has boosted economic activity in France by €6 billion, by €1.4 billion in Germany and by €2.1 billion in Italy.
The international study suggests that in France the vaccination rate increased by 13% since the announcement of the use of COVID pass as part of the pandemic-related restrictions. In Italy the positive impact was 10%, while in Germany it exceeded 6%. This increase is estimated to have saved almost 6,500 lives in these countries.
Almost 6,500 lives were saved in France, Germany & Italy.
In the six months following the announcement of COVID pass based restrictions, these led to around 46,000 people in these three countries not needing to be hospitalised as a direct result of COVID. In France it is estimated that the pressure on hospitals has fallen by almost half as a result, while in Italy the reduction was more than a quarter.
This meant that when these countries were hit by the Omicron variant, their hospitals had a period during which they were under much reduced pressure and therefore there were sufficient resources to deal with the surge brought about by new variant. In fact, despite the increase in cases, the death rate appears to have decreased substantially, while pressure on intensive care units is much less pronounced.
According to these economists, if a country is completely vaccinated, this would lead to a positive impact of around 5.2% on the level of its Gross Domestic Product. This is because in the absence of a high vaccination rate, Governments would have to resort to lockdowns and the other blunt measures they had to use in 2020 to control the first wave of the pandemic.
Studies of this nature have not been carried out so far in Malta. However, it should be noted that at the end of September – the time when Government announced that entertainment venues voluntarily using the COVID pass would have less restrictive measures – the difference in the booster intake rate between Malta and the European Union was only 3%. By Christmas this gap had grown to 10%.
In Malta, the COVID pass measures has led to a phenomenal increase in the booster dose vaccination rate.
In the few weeks since the announcement of changes to restrictions on travel and entry to certain establishments, the gap has more than doubled and has grown to 22%. Even in Malta, the announcement of measures related to the COVID pass has led to a phenomenal increase in the rate of those who have turned to get their booster dose.
All this confirms that the Nationalist Party’s decision to come out against the COVID pass is one that is not only at odds with the expert judgement of our health authorities and what is happening in countries around us, but which is at odds with what is most economically sound for our country.
If France, Italy and Germany had not resorted to using the COVID pass as the centre piece for restrictions against the spread of the pandemic, even before Omicron hit, they would have suffered 6,500 more deaths and lost almost €10 billion in economic activity.
Strengthening the use of the COVID pass not only makes sense for the health of our people but is another strong economic support tool.