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The news that Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE could secure authorization for a coronavirus vaccine in a matter of weeks has sparked hopes that the global economy could bounce back strongly next year.

But while a successful vaccine could indeed give the economy a shot in the arm in 2021, say economists, it will take longer to heal from a historic blow to jobs, investment and businesses—a task complicated by the current surge in infections in much of the West.

Pfizer and…