Covid-19 Vaccine Updates
Join myFT Daily Digest to be the first to know about Covid-19 vaccine news.
This article is a version in place of The Lex Newsletter. Sign in here to send the full newsletter directly to your inbox every Wednesday and Friday
The Covid-19 vaccine is often described as a breed. On Tuesday, it was compared to a camping trip. Anyone who has pitched a tent on a mountain slope knows that it makes sense to tie a rope before a storm, rather than during a storm, says Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, a senior British medical official who love colorful metaphors.
The decision to host the over 50s and other eligible Britons additional dose of the BioNTech / Pfizer jab or half a dose of Moderna vaccine will protect against the declining immunity. It is also another voice of confidence in the new generation of shots that messenger RNA uses to teach the body to make a protein that triggers an immune response.
A trial of seven boosters conducted at the University of Southampton found that the mRNA jabs are best tolerated and effective. The Oxford / AstraZeneca jab will only be used by those who cannot get the mRNA vaccines for medical reasons.
The need for additional jabs may not stop there. British vaccination minister Nadhim Zahawi says patients can get regular vaccinations at the same time as their flu vaccinations. Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of Moderna, also talked about annual Covid boosters becoming a reality.
The need for regular reinforcements is a sign that, despite the remarkable success of the vaccines, they are unlikely to overcome the virus. The Delta coronavirus variant is about twice as contagious as the original strain first detected in Wuhan. This has pushed the immunity of herds out of reach, as not enough people can be infected or infected to slow down the spread of the virus to the point that it spreads. Rather, the UK seems to be moving towards the ‘endemic equilibrium’, where cases fluctuate at a relatively stable level. Immunity will decrease over time, but waves of boosters and infections will supplement it.
If confirmed, the promotion mandates will create a large and sustained market for Covid vaccines. Annual fluctuations will increase the size of the Covid vaccine market in seven major markets – the US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan – from $ 13.6 billion in 2021 to $ 19.5 billion in 2026, according to GlobalData.
Some companies’ end result will benefit significantly. Pfizer, which shares the profits from the sale of the Covid shot with BioNTech, reports that the pre-tax profit margins against Covid vaccine are “in the range of 20 percent”. The approval of competing vaccines may eventually lower prices, but it is currently rising. The EU paid € 19.50 per shot in its most recent agreement, compared to € 15.50. One report noted that the United Kingdom £ 1 billion paid for the doses of 35 million it ordered for next year’s autumn raising campaign.
The cost of vaccines has not caused much controversy. They pale in comparison to the economic benefits of keeping the economy open. The principle of providing reinforcements is more controversial. Scientists like Sarah Gilbert, who developed the AstraZeneca jab, and the international writers of a recent article in The Lancet are not convinced. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot recently warned that speeding up the decision could place a possible ‘unnecessary burden’ on the NHS.
The more stock is demanded by rich countries, the longer poorer countries have to wait – which increases the death toll and the risk of new variants. The World Health Organization recently called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of the year to allow each country to vaccinate at least 40 percent of its population.
There could be an end to the shortage, says Pfizer boss Albert Bourla. He predicts there will be enough shots for anyone willing to be vaccinated by the end of 2022. Even by the end of this year, developed countries will have 1.1 billion surplus sticks, according to Airfinity, a life science analysis company. This is a legacy because they have spread their bets to ensure they do not fail. At the top of the league table is Canada with 8.8 doses per person, followed by the United Kingdom which ordered seven.
However, the UK stock will not be as large as expected. Shares in Valneva, France, fell more than a third on Monday after the British government ended a 100 million dose vaccine supply. The reason was not fully explained. British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was clear the vaccine would not be approved for use in the UK.
Valneva insisted it would continue the development. It’s not just the hope that the vaccination race will be a marathon not a sprint. More than two dozen trials began this year, according to Evaluate Vantage. Those who are first out of the blocks have a big lead, but there may still be room for more participants.
Enjoy the rest of the week,
If you would like to receive regular updates when we publish Lex, please add us your FT Digest, and you get an instant email alert every time we publish. You can also view each Lex column via the web page