Vaccinated Access: Possible entry restrictions to hamper recovery


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 Increasing global trend of entry restrictions for non-vaccinated persons in malls, cinema halls, and even barber shops, by private sector or government-backed norms, if implemented in India, might hamper economic growth.

In theory, the likely move might help in mitigating a third wave, but will also deny services to non-vaccinated populations and can lead to litigations.

Some countries have banned entry of non-vaccinated persons in malls and other places.

In parallel, discussions between tourism dependent countries and the industry are in advance stages to decide whether to allow quarantine-free entry to only vaccinated passengers.

At present, contact intensive services like retail, tourism and aviation are the worst impacted, and implementing these norms might hurt them further.

Nonetheless, industry insiders maintain that such likely moves, even in the short run to prevent another wave, will disrupt recovery momentum.

Besides, several companies have worked over time in ensuring employees get vaccinated and created operational bio-safe zones for their customers.

Furthermore, they point out that vaccine shortages would be a matter of concern for such a likely plan to work.

"Stepping up vaccination drive remains the most viable and cheapest policy path to economic normalisation. However vaccine hesitancy, especially in semi urban and rural sector, could become a hurdle in smooth execution of the vaccination drive, even when supply concerns fade," Emkay Global's Lead Economist Madhavi Arora said.

"But these restrictions are unlikely to be triggered immediately, not unless we reach a decent 70 per cent plus vaccination levels. Besides, stringency of the same would determine the efficacy and behavioural impact."

According to ICRA's Chief Economist Aditi Nayar, these norms might not be required if the vaccination process is further accelerated.

"If the pace of vaccination is maintained at 6 million per day in Q2 FY2021 and subsequently increased to 8 million from Q3 FY2022 onwards, all adults are likely to receive both doses of the vaccine by early February 2022."

"This will cover over two-thirds of the entire Indian population."

On the other hand, Acuite Ratings & Research Chief Analytical Officer Suman Chowdhury said selective access to contact intensive services based on vaccination would be a prudent measure.

"This will not only mitigate the risks of an additional wave of the pandemic but also address the issue of vaccine hesitancy."

"While adequate availability of vaccines is indeed a challenge, the Government has taken certain steps... therefore, one can expect the issue of vaccine availability to get resolved over the next 2 quarters."

"In the meantime, an access policy based on at least one dose of vaccination is advisable even though it may mean some further hit to the economy in the near term."

Source: IANS

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