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Pfizer and Moderna expected to earn billions from COVID-19 booster shots

Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are forecasted to earn billions in sales from COVID-19 booster shots, Reuters reported, citing analysts and health care investors.

The vaccine makers have been saying that fully vaccinated people are expected to need booster shots as protection from initial doses of their shots diminish — and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday OK'd boosters of both vaccines for people with compromised immune systems.

Big bottom lines

Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have nabbed over $60 billion in combined sales for the COVID-19 shots for 2021 and 2022, the outlet reported, adding that revenue generators include supplies of the initial two vaccine doses as well as potential boosters for wealthy nations.

More from Reuters:

Going forward, analysts have forecast revenue of over $6.6 billion for the Pfizer/BioNTech shot and $7.6 billion for Moderna in 2023, mostly from booster sales. They eventually see the annual market settling at around $5 billion or higher, with additional drugmakers competing for those sales.

The vaccine makers say that evidence of waning antibody levels in vaccinated people after six months, as well as an increasing rate of breakthrough infections in countries hit by the Delta variant, support the need for booster shots.

Some early data suggests that the Moderna vaccine, which delivers a higher dose at the outset, may be more durable than Pfizer's shot, but more research is needed to determine whether that is influenced by the age or underlying health of the people vaccinated.

As a result, it is far from clear how many people will need boosters, and how often. The profit potential of booster shots may be limited by the number of competitors who enter the market. In addition, some scientists question whether there is enough evidence that boosters are needed, particularly for younger, healthy people. The World Health Organization has asked governments to hold off on booster shots until more people worldwide receive their initial doses.

"We don't know what the market forces will be," Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in an interview last week, the outlet reported. "At some point, this will become a more traditional market — we'll look at what are the populations at risk, what value are we creating, and what are the number of products that serve that value. That will ultimately impact price."

Reuters said Pfizer declined to comment for its story, but the outlet noted that the drug company's executives have said they believe a third dose will be necessary six to eight months after initial vaccination — and then regularly afterward.

You can read the rest of the Reuters report here.

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