News of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine efficacy brings a boost to the travel and leisure industry

NOW: News of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine efficacy brings a boost to the travel and leisure industry

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A major development in the race for a COVID-19 cure, as Pfizer says human trials for its vaccine show 90% efficacy. They’ll now be applying for Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, which is expected to happen later this month.

The new vaccine development has given an economic boost to the stock market and it’s also sprinkling optimism for the future of local tourism and travel in Milwaukee.

Finance experts say the stocks everyone wondered would survive during the pandemic rose the most on Monday, including Milwaukee-based hotel and theater company, Marcus Corporation.

“Marcus Corporation and the leisure—you know this is hotels and theaters—was up over 30-percent today,” said Kevin Spellman, PhD., finance senior lecturer at UW-Milwaukee.

Cruise lines were also up Monday, but while some travel and leisure companies in the stock market saw a boost, others like Amazon, Netflix, FedEx and UPS did badly.  

Anything that had to do with staying at home did poorly Monday,” added Spellman.

Spellman says the market did not expect a COVID-19 vaccine to report having 90-percent efficacy.

“The market was expecting much lower, and 90-percent effective—if you can get people to actually take the vaccine, we can get to herd immunity and be back into a normal life quicker,” he added.

We do know that this is a great first step, this is great news,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, CEO of Visit Milwaukee.

Visit Milwaukee says while news of the efficacy is great, the travel and tourism industry in the city remains “cautiously optimistic.” They say with any new vaccine it takes time to be distributed, and people have to feel safe traveling in order for them to bounce back.

“People have to feel safe getting in a car, getting in a plane and traveling, and until that happens it will be hard for local businesses to be sustained,” added Williams-Smith.

CEO of Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater Group, Gary Witt, said in a statement:

"We are encouraged by the news of the vaccine and hope that it will be available to the public as soon as safely possible. The ability for us to get fully back to business hinges greatly on a vaccine and access to rapid testing. The sooner these options are available to the public, the sooner we are all able to rebuild and get back to living life in the new normal, post pandemic, world."

While news of the vaccine efficacy is positive, Spellman says there may be some things the market is not thinking about, like what are the long term effects of the vaccine? Will people get it? And when will it come out?

“Is it over? Definitely not, because there’s still a lot of questions on the vaccines and they still have to be able to survive for potentially up to one year,” said Spellman.

“I’m hopeful that the back half of 2021, we should return to some semblance of normalcy in terms of business travel, meetings, conventions and those types of things,” added Williams-Smith.

The vaccine would be a two-dose regimen. Pfizer says they expect 50 million doses before the end of this year, which would be enough for 25 million people. They expect to up that number to 1.3 billion doses by 2021.  

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