COVID-19 Vaccine vs. PPE

Will COVID-19 Vaccine disrupt PPE industry ? Will the Vaccine significantly reduce the demand on PPE product ? COVID-19 has significantly impact the PPE industry in 2020 and what impacts will be in 2021? These are the questions PPE industry cares but hard to answer. The whole world was in extreme shortage of PPE in the first half of 2020 and even “destroy” the PPE supply chain completely in certain countries. In the second half of 2020, PPE industry return backs “normal” a little bit and now people hopes more for the Vaccine. What is next ? We come up with an analysis on PPE for the 2021 and the near future.

What happens now? UK is busy in preparing for COVID-19 vaccination recently. UK ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer/BioNtech published its first results in November and shows 95% of effective (ref ). MHRA has “permitted” emergence use of this vaccine which makes the UK to be the first country in the world (ref). UK than planned out the roadmap for large population vaccination. Beside, several other vaccine are also in busy development.

The purpose is to reach the “herd immunity” goal that having 60%-70% of the global population must be immune to stop the COVID-19 virus speaking (ref). However, will vaccine be easily reach the goal ? Different opinion exists. First vaccine will be given to older people. History suggests any vaccine could be less successful in old because an aged immune system does not respond as well. Scientist also can not largely sure on how long the immunisation would last, and when would “second” vaccine should be given to the same person (ref ). We still do not know well if any side effect would follow with the vaccine.

However, society response differently with the hope from vaccine. With the combination effect of end of second lockdown, although new tiers rules are announced (ref ), UK business has reopened and we can definitely see more people on the street now (ref). Shoppers flocked to high streets (ref ), although the sales figures are not as good as the level before pre-pandemic, but it is a signal for society confidence on fighting with COVID-19 virus.

What is the impact on the PPE industry ? It certainly impacts on the demand side of PPE product. During pandemic. Non-critical business has been encouraged to work from home which consume less PPE product. Individual are also volunteered to leave the PPE product to hospital and healthcare. Even the council control smaller force who required to have PPE products in their works. During the pandemic, medical usage becomes the primary PPE consumers. £18bn has been spend this year for PPE products (ref ).  Large government funding to secure PPE. As the full utilisation of hospital for COVID-19 patients, NHS has demanded largest PPE product than even before.

Assume the vaccine bring life to be more normal, is PPE still required? NHS frontline will be offered vaccine as higher priority, but they still need to wear masks and other PPE products in their operation. This habit exists before pandemic. The hospital could be less occupied, and medical staff are less stretched. It means the PPE demand in medical could be less than pandemic, and be closer to the normal level before pandemic. Public society will go back to office and business needs to prepare PPE for their staff. Individual should start to consume more PPE product as they need to protect themselves when going back to work. This positive and negative effect on total PPE consumption is hard to predict. However, the distribution of PPE product category could be different.

How PPE industry should be prepared then ?  We should start to pay more attention to the business demand and individual demand, with the balance to the medical demand. It will impact on the distribution of product category. People are more educated and willing to wear PPE after pandemic. PPE is not only to protect the wearer but also the society. Second thought is on the innovation of the product. Many new PPE products ideas appears. Particularly fabric face masks follows new BSI compliance requirements as well. Since business are go back to normal, business risk control should be in placed as well, stock should be controlled more agile and intelligence (ref ). YHUK Ltd also have several millions of PPE products (such as masks) stocked in UK London to be taken immediately.

What is happened in the supply chain side ? Two main production countries, one is China and one is Turkey. Manufactory are more careful on increase new productivity. Importing and exporting market trend are detected and shifted even earlier then local market (ref ). PPE manufactory investment are back to control and prediction now (ref ). However, Christmas is not a great time for cross-board logistic. Therefore, even the supplier side is back to normal, the difficult logistic makes the demand still high. Therefore, a clear long term sustainable strategy is the key to be successful in PPE industry. YHUK Ltd is aiming to develop this long term business relationship.

Author: YHUK Ltd

Rebecca Lambert
Author: Rebecca Lambert


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