Last week’s decision of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a US government body, to approve COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for certain groups of the American population is shaping to be a boon to vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna.
A ‘brave new world’ of annual re-vaccinations
According to Karen Andersen, an analyst for Morningstar, cited by The Daily Mail, if COVID boosters get endorsed for almost all Americans, Pfizer-BioNTech will make an additional $26 billion, while Moderna will rake in another $14 billion from sales.
The estimate comes after on Thursday the CDC endorsed third vaccine shots for those recipients of the Pfizer vaccines who are 65 and older, plus all Americans who are exposed to a higher risk of catching COVID-19 because of their jobs or health condition.
This means that for the time being, Pfizer will have to settle for part of the $26 billion in extra revenues in question.
Moderna’s booster shots haven’t been approved yet but its 2022 revenue forecast spiked by 35% since mid-August when Democrat President Joe Biden announced his plan for third vaccine doses.
As per the CDC endorsement, Pfizer boosters shots may be administered six months after the second dose to people who are at least 65 years of age, and to those working in risky settings such as nursing homes.
The CDC also approved boosters from Pfizer’s vaccine for those between 18 and 64 years of age who have underlying health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and even smoking.
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, told ABC on Sunday that he expected the pandemic to be over of sorts, and life to return to normal but annual vaccinations against COVID-19 to remain.
Bourla thus agreed with similar comments made days earlier by Moderna’s CEO.
The Pfizer chief described his most likely scenario – which is a vastly profitable one for his company and its peers – in which there will newer and newer variants of the coronavirus popping up around the world, so regular annual vaccinations would be needed.
According to Bourla, however, “we will have vaccines that… will last at least a year.”
Striking it hyper-rich
In the pandemic so far, Pfizer’s stock price has gone from $30.99 (March 8, 2020) to $43.94 today. Johnson & Johnson’s has jumped from $134.29 to $164.59 today.
Moderna has particularly hit the jackpot as it went from $21.3 to $430.
Moderna in particular, which was founded in 2010 and is based in Massachusetts, has no other FDA-approved medications, only its COVID-19 vaccine.
The question of whether booster shots are even necessary, at least for the time being, remains a highly controversial one – but the big pharma companies in question are certain to make tons of money.
On Friday, two doctors published an op-ed in the otherwise extremely leftist and pro-vaccine New York Times, declaring that the latest guidance of the CDC on COVID-19 booster shots is “ahead of the science” on whether those are even necessary.
That, however, is just beginning, and the CDC is widely expected to endorse not just the boosters of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for the vulnerable groups but also to expand the recommendation to the wider population.
So, while there are many question marks hovering over the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that the vaccine makers are striking it rich beyond their wildest prior dreams is indisputable.