In a significant development, Pfizer Inc stated, it will charge developed countries the same amount it has contracted with the United States and suggested that consumers may need multiple vaccinations in order to remain protected against COVID-19.
Earlier the U.S. government had agreed to pay around $2 billion for the COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE, a German biotech, to inoculate 50 million people at a price point of $39 for a two-dose treatment course.
“All the countries that are developed right now will not receive a lower price for the same volume commitment than the U.S.,” said Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla during a conference call.
A one time vaccination may not be sufficient. Pfizer executives expect people to receive continued vaccinations for a number of years to maintain herd immunity against COVID-19 globally; this is because people’s immunity may reduce or over time the virus will mutate.
The mRNA technology employed in the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine “is ideal for both: you can boost and boost and boost without losing efficacy,” said Bourla. “And also, you can move very fast from one type of vaccine to another by simply modifying the (genetic) code.”
The price of the vaccine could change once the pandemic period ends, compared with its initial decision aimed at ensuring broadest access.
On Tuesday, Pfizer beat Wall Street estimates for second quarter profits and raised its full-year earnings forecast. It took nearly $500 million hit in total sales during the second quarter since Wuhan coronavirus-induced lockdowns curtailed visits to hospitals and doctors leading to a fall in demand for several products.
The fall in demand was however offset by demand for blood thinner Eliquis, which has been used to help treat COVID-19 patients.
Pfizer now expects 2020 adjusted profit of $2.28 to $2.38 per share, raising both ends of the range by 3 cents. Pfizer shares rose 4% to $39.07.