The past year was defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. It destabilized the U.S. economy and forced integrators to make unexpected expenditures while upending demand for their products. However, there’s hope on the horizon for 2021.
New political leadership
The Trump Administration failed to establish an effective strategy for controlling the novel coronavirus. This contributed to the national public health failure that led to the chaotic situation the country – and the industry – faced in 2020.
In January 2021, a new president who promises to focus on employing a national pandemic response and controlling COVID-19 will take office. This could be a positive for integrators who are currently implementing their own testing, prevention and disease control strategies.
Humanity will receive a powerful new tool in a suite of vaccines that could be distributed in limited numbers by the beginning of 2021. Widespread use of an effective vaccine could allow a return to normalcy in U.S. business.
There are three big questions for a COVID-19 vaccine: Will the vaccine be distributed to everyone who wants it? How much will Americans pay for it? Will most Americans take it?
I expect skepticism of a vaccine. A poll published by the Pew Research Center in September 2020 determined 49% of Americans would not take a COVID-19 vaccine if it was available to them today. Out of the same survey group, 78% said they are concerned vaccines are being approved and used too quickly. It is unknown what percentage would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Impact for integrators
If a vaccine is available and works, integrators must study it and understand how quickly said vaccine would be available to their workforces. It would also be wise to set aside money to pay for vaccination if it is unaffordable to their workforce.