Despite a vaccine’s clinical effectiveness, if too few people have access to it, a community can’t reach herd immunity - rendering the innovation ineffective
The world got one step closer to having a Covid-19 vaccine on the market as drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna both released promising interim clinical data in the past two weeks. However, there lingers the question that how much will the Covid-19 vaccine cost.
Trial successes from Pfizer and Moderna have buoyed hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine is coming soon. But much of the world, outside of rich nations like the US, is counting on another company's shot to escape the crisis, reports the Mint.
The US agreed in July to obtain the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in a deal that sets the price at $19.50 a dose, or $39 for a two-shot immunization, a level BioNTech said could become a benchmark for developed nations.
In the US, people will pay very little out-of-pocket—if anything at all, given the significant amount of federal funding, many vaccine manufacturers are pricing well below what the market would bear, reports the Forbes.
No matter the clinical effectiveness, if too few people have access to the vaccine, a community can't reach herd immunity - rendering the innovation moot.
"The ultimate value of this vaccine will really be determined by coverage. If only a certain percentage of people get the vaccine, then we won't really have enough coverage to make a dent in the spread of the virus," ," said Dr Bruce Y Lee, professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York.
Here is what prices leading Covid-19 vaccine makers are charging:
Pfizer and BioNTech have set the initial price at $19.50 a dose. Since each vaccine requires a two-dose regimen, the price comes to $39 per patient.
The prices after the company's $1.95 billion contract with the US federal government as part of Operation Warp Speed in July.
Pfizer and BioNTech, which have developed an mRNA-based vaccine, will receive that amount for the first 100 million doses, pending regulatory approval.
Moderna, which has developed a competing mRNA vaccine, received nearly $1 billion from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and has a $1.5 billion contract for 100 million doses, bringing its price to around $50 per patient or $25 a dose.
Moderna said the company will charge $32 to $37 a dose for smaller deals and less for bigger purchases.
US federal government has stepped in to ensure that patients will see as little out-of-pocket costs for Covid-19 vaccines as possible. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is finalising a rule that any Covid-19 vaccine with authorisation from the Food and Drug Administration would be covered with no cost to seniors or low-income people in the government-funded health insurance programs.
The Medicare reimbursement rate is $16.94 for the first dose and $28.39 for the final dose, for a total of $45.33. Most commercial insurers and self-funded employer health plans will also be on the hook for providing Covid-19 vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs through rules from the Departments of Labor and Treasury.
Findings from the final stage of AstraZeneca's vaccine studies are due to be released shortly, and the stakes for lower- and middle-income nations are immense.
The shot developed with the University of Oxford accounts for more than 40% of the supplies going to those countries, based on deals tracked by London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd.
One of the key factors behind the reliance on the Astra-Oxford vaccine is the initial price.
The Astra vaccine costs a fraction of the price set by Pfizer and will be manufactured in multiple countries, from India to Brazil.
Astra has said it won't profit during the pandemic and that the vaccine will cost between $4 and $5 a dose, though health advocates worry what that company and others will charge when the crisis is deemed over.