Coronavirus vaccine: How much it costs, who'll get it first and other FAQs

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine nears its final lap with multiple phase 3 trials underway, the primary question has shifted from whether we will have a working vaccine at all to how much one (or more of them) will cost and who will get it first. As Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization has said, it’s not over until it’s over everywhere --- it is essential that countries across the globe have access to the vaccine to put an end to the pandemic, which has claimed over 1,365,000 lives and counting.

Take a look at how much coronavirus vaccine front-runners will charge for the shots, who's bought them and who will get them first:

1. Moderna coronavirus vaccine

US biotechnology firm Moderna's Covid vaccine is a front-runner in the global race to contain a raging pandemic.

How much will Moderna coronavirus vaccine cost?

Moderna is a private company, which has clearly stated its interest in making profits. In August, Moderna was pitching for $37 (£28) a dose. The UN Covax programme will subsidise rollouts of coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries, but at the price Moderna wants to charge, that may prove too costly.

How many shots of Moderna vaccine will be required?

Moderna vaccine consists of two injections four weeks apart.

Who will get it first?

The US market is its first target. Moderna’s vaccine has been developed with the help of the federally funded National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Health and Human Services. It has received $2.48 bn from the US government. By the end of the year, the company aims to have 20 million doses available for use in the US. Because of the price and because of the links to the US government, the rest of the world will have to wait. And low-income countries may have to look elsewhere. 

Hope for poorer countries

Moderna has said it will not enforce patents on its vaccine for the duration of the pandemic. That makes it possible that manufacturers in India or China could make a lower-cost version.

Who's bought Moderna coronavirus vaccine

The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna. The EU has agreed to a preliminary 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine in its exploratory talks with the company, which could be finalised soon. UK managed to secure 5 million doses of Moderna vaccine within four hours of early results, amid fears that Britain had missed out on supplies.

2. Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech said last week that an analysis of their vaccine candidate showed it was over 95% effective in preventing coronavirus infections.

How much will Pfizer coronavirus vaccine cost?

Pfizer and BioNTech are reportedly charging $20 per dose for their vaccine, significantly lower than Moderna.

How many shots of Pfizer vaccine will be required?

It consists of two injections 21 days apart.

Who will get it first?

In the UK, older care home residents and care home staff are top of the preliminary priority list. They are followed by health workers such as hospital staff and the over 80 year olds. People are then ranked by age, with people under 50 at the bottom of the list.

Hope for countries like India

Pfizer is unlikely to be a solution for India. This is because India does not have the cold storage facilities required to store and transport this vaccine at -70⁰ to -80⁰ C. The vaccine also has a limited shelf life – at times as little as 24-48 hours.

Who's bought the coronavirus vaccine

Several countries across the globe have sealed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech. The European Union has ordered the most, with 300 million doses, Japan will procure 120 million, and the US has bought 100 million. The UK, Canada, Australia and Chile have all bought at least 10 million doses of the vaccine.

3. Oxford coronavirus vaccine

British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is developing a Covid-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford. Data from late-stage trials will be available next month.

How much will Oxford coronavirus vaccine cost?

Oxford coronavirus vaccine has been priced at approximately $3 to $4. India’s Serum Institute has, meanwhile, said Oxford coronavirus vaccine will be priced at a maximum of Rs 1,000 for two doses.

How many shots of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine will be required?

AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine requires two shots

Who will get it first?

In India, Oxford Covid-19 vaccine should be available for healthcare workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and by April for the general public. "It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated," according to Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla.

Hope for poorer countries

With the Oxford vaccine, UK appears to be doing more than most countries to support access to Covid vaccines for the poorest populations in the world. The company has said the vaccine will be delivered at a price of no profit, regardless of where in the world it is being delivered, “as long as all these orders have been taken in the next few weeks and months.”

Who's bought the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The vaccine candidate has secured a number of substantial deals with several countries. The U.S. and India have both agreed to procure 500 million doses, the EU has reached a deal to buy 400 million, and the Covax facility has ordered 300 million.

The UK, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, and Latin America excluding Brazil have all confirmed orders of at least 100 million doses.

4. Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson expects to have all data needed to file for authorisation for its single-shot coronavirus vaccine candidate by February, according to a report.

How much will Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine cost?

J&J shots are likely to cost around $10 a dose. Johnson & Johnson had earlier stated it was committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

How many shots of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be required?

This vaccine candidate will have a single shot.

Hope for poorer countries

Johnson & Johnson announced it will give up to 500 million doses of that vaccine to poorer countries around the world. The firm has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to sign the "Communiqué on Expanded Global Access" to make sure that "people everywhere have access (to the vaccine) —regardless of their income level."

Johnson & Johnson did not specify which countries would get it for free.

Who's bought the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

The EU has ordered 200 million doses and the US has procured orders of 100 million. Canada has agreed to buy 38 million and the UK has ordered 30 million.

5. Russia coronavirus vaccine

Early results from trials of a Covid vaccine Sputnik V developed in Russia suggest it could be 92% effective.

How much will Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine cost?

According to Russia's TASS agency, the coronavirus vaccine will be available free of cost in the country. So far, Russia has not announced the cost of its vaccine outside the country. However, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund has assured that it will be lower than many other vaccines.

How many shots of the Russian vaccine will be required?

It will have two shots.

Hope for India

RDIF has partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to test, and subject to regulatory approvals in India, supply 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Who's bought the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine

RDIF has already inked vaccine supply deals with Kazakhstan, Brazil and Mexico and has reached a manufacturing partnership agreement with India to produce 300 million doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine.

6. India coronavirus vaccine

India is likely to be amongst the front-runners with the development of its indigenous Covid vaccine Covaxin in the near future. 

What will be the cost of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine?

The cost of Covaxin will be less than that of a water, according to Bharat Biotech MD, Dr Krishna Ella

The remark implies that Covaxin will be supplied at a price well below Rs 100, which will be significant given that most of India's population falls in the low-to-middle income category.

How many shots of Covaxin will be required?

Not known yet.

7. Novavax coronavirus vaccine

Novavax Inc is on track to begin a delayed US-based, late-stage study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine later this month. The company also said the vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, had been given “fast-track” status from the US Food and Drug Administration and that it expected data from the trial could support US authorisation and approval.

What will be the cost of Novavax vaccine?

The Novavax vaccine will cost $16 per dose.

How many shots of the Novavax vaccine will be required?

This vaccinde candidate is likely to have two shots.

Hope for India

Novavax, a Maryland company has formed a partnership with Serum Institute of India to produce up to two billion doses of its potential vaccine in India.

Meanwhile, WHO-backed initiative called Covax as well as CEPI and the global vaccine alliance group Gavi, aim to buy and equitably distribute two billion doses of the vaccine.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel