Right about this time last year, the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world with full force as several countries went into complete lockdown and people ended up confined in their homes. Pharma companies went into overdrive to develop a vaccine. A year later, the vaccines are ready and being rolled out across the world and the situation is gradually beginning to normalize. Let’s take a look in general at what’s going on in the pandemic-and-vaccine universe:
Based on data from the John Hopkins University and CDC, there were 121 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported globally with 2.68 million deaths. In the US, there were 29.6 million cases with over 538,000 deaths. In the US, over 147.5 million doses of vaccines have been distributed and 113 million doses have been administered.
Last week, the US government approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. According to a report by Yahoo Money, the Internal Revenue Service stated that around 90 million payments have been sent out since then. This first batch of payments is worth around $242 billion.
Pharma companies and vaccines
A number of pharma companies are involved in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) have been at the forefront of the vaccination drive with several others joining them later.
Pfizer expects to generate $15 billion in revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine this year, and the company is on track to deliver 300 million doses to the US government by the end of July. Pfizer is testing its vaccine on pregnant women and at the same time the company is working on a booster vaccine to counter the coronavirus variants that have emerged in certain regions. Pfizer believes there is opportunity for booster vaccines as well as price hikes going forward as the pandemic wanes.
Moderna expects to generate $18.4 billion in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. The company aims to supply 1 billion doses worldwide this year and it has commenced its clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of its vaccine in children aged 6 months to 11 years. The vaccination for kids provides Moderna with further opportunity for revenue generation.
Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) single-dose vaccine has received approval from several healthcare agencies and is currently being distributed in many regions. Although the vaccine did face resistance from a group of Catholics on grounds that a cell line from aborted fetal tissue was used in its production, it is moving ahead without much hindrance.
AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ: AZN) has been plagued with reports of some of its vaccine recipients developing blood clots which led to the suspension of its vaccine in several countries in Europe including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. However, the European Medicines Agency has declared the vaccine safe and stated that its benefits outweighed its risks.
Since no pharma company can meet the burgeoning demand for the COVID-19 vaccines alone, there is ample opportunity for revenue generation and growth for all companies involved in this effort.
The vaccine distribution has generated a sense of optimism for many companies across various industries. Within retail, apparel companies like Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) are hopeful that as vaccines are rolled out and people start venturing out, it will lead to higher demand for new and fancy clothes and accessories.
Airliners and travel companies hope to gain from a gradual pickup in travel as the year progresses although a complete recovery is expected to take more time. On the flip side, supermarkets and large specialty store chains like Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), who witnessed a spike in demand during the pandemic, are likely to see this demand moderate as things normalize going forward.