Several companies have now developed viable coronavirus vaccines and are now mass producing vaccine doses. Find out here how it will impact the market and the price of the vaccine.
The Race To Mass-Produce Coronavirus Vaccine: Who Will Be The Winner?
The vaccine for coronavirus is finally here. As several countries struggle against the new wave of the pandemic, the vaccine gives us hope that we might not see another. While Pfizer and BioNTech (A German Bio-tech company that worked with Pfizer on developing the vaccine) are hailed for developing the first viable vaccine, other pharmaceutical companies are not that far behind.
By mid-December, national regulatory authorities had already approved six different vaccines for public use. As pharmaceutical companies around the globe race to mass-produce their version of the COVID vaccine, there is a lot of speculation around production capacity, global dissemination, and the price per dose of the vaccine.
There are many notable pharmaceutical names associated with the development and distribution of the COVID vaccine.
Pfizer started mass producing the vaccine that was originally developed in conjunction with BioNTech as soon as they got approval from the FDA. The pharmaceutical giant is leveraging its global presence and has started production in several different locations. Pfizer/BioNTech planned to produce 50 million doses in 2020 (capable of vaccinating 25 million people because each recipient requires two doses). According to recent projections, Pfizer might produce about 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Moderna developed a vaccine that’s quite similar to Pfizer/BioNTech. Both are mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines. Moderna doesn’t have the track record or a sizeable number of FDA-approved facilities, and it has already entered into a contract with the federal government to produce 200 million by the end of June. The firm is aiming to produce between half a billion and a billion doses by the end of 2021, and it’s speculated that it will outsource production to other manufacturers.
Outside the US, one of the early-birds in the COVID vaccine market is the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, which developed a vaccine in conjunction with Oxford. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has recently been approved in the UK. It’s not as promising as Pfizer’s or Moderna’s mRNA vaccine since it prevents symptoms only about 70% of the time (mRNA vaccines are effective 95% of the time). Since it’s a viral vector vaccine, it’s significantly easier to transport and store and thus more affordable. The company is aiming for 3 billion doses in 2021.
Novavax, a relatively small US-based vaccine company, has started developing a protein-based vaccine. It recently secured a $1.6 billion contract for 100 million doses in the US and can make about one billion doses through its European facility.
Johnson & Johnson is offering a single-dose viral-vector vaccine, and the company projects that it will easily be able to produce 1 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Sanofi/GSK vaccine is facing some problems, and the companies have postponed the mass-production till the fourth quarter of 2021.
The two most important factors that would come into play in the pricing of the vaccine are its type and demand. Many countries have already pre-ordered a large number of doses at a set price. But as the market is flooded with the vaccines, the prices may dip. Also, China might dominate certain markets with its own vaccine, shrinking the global demand further.
The vaccine prices, as of now, are:
|Pfizer/BioNTech||$39 (Price that the US government has paid for the first 100 million doses)
$19.50 (Current US price)
€12 (What EU is paying)
|Johnson and Johnson||$10 (US)
The prices might also vary depending upon government intervention. Many companies have vouched not to make any profit on the vaccine, so the price you might pay will only be the cost of producing a single dose and its storage and distribution cost.