Slow vaccination rollout seen as biggest threat to Irish business
Survey by Institute of Directors detects growing anxiety over pace of vaccination
The IoD’s survey found that “a slow rollout” was seen by a third of business leaders as the single biggest risk facing their organisations. Photograph: Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP
A slower-than-expected Covid-19 vaccine rollout is now seen as the biggest threat to business in Ireland. That’s according to a poll by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland.
The Government’s vaccination rollout got off to a shaky start with the supply of doses held up by manufacturing delays but its aim is that everyone would be offered a vaccine by September.
The IoD’s survey found that “a slow rollout” was seen by a third (33 per cent) of business leaders as the single biggest risk facing their organisations.
This was viewed as a greater risk than the extension of Level 5 restrictions beyond March, which was highlighted as the second biggest risk by 23 per cent of company bosses.
The survey also found that over three-quarters (78 per cent) of business leaders believe that Covid-19 will have a negative impact on the bottom line of their business this year despite the vaccine rollout.
The findings were contained in the IoD’s latest quarterly director sentiment monitor, which canvassed the opinion of the group’s 3,000-plus members.
It revealed that a clear majority (70 per cent ) of business leaders anticipated the second half of the year as the most likely period for a return to the workplace by most of their staff.
Brexit has also caused an impact, with 56 per cent of business leaders believing it will have a negative impact on the bottom line, and just 9 per cent believing it will be positive.
A similar percentage of business leaders also think the Government should provide further Brexit supports (to those already in place) so that Irish exporters/importers can trade more effectively with the UK.
“For many business leaders, the uncertainties and challenges of the past year due to Covid-19 and Brexit have continued into 2021,” Maura Quinn, Iod chief executive said.
“Business leaders are clearly concerned about the pace at which the Covid-19 national vaccination programme is being rolled out,” she said.
“It is not unrelated that our research also finds that business leaders see the final two-quarters of the year as the most likely period when most staff can return to the company workplace,” Ms Quinn said.
“With mass vaccination offering the tantalising prospect of a return to some semblance of normality, it is to be hoped that, once supply issues are resolved, the rollout of the vaccination programme will pick up pace,” she said.