US-Authorized COVID-19 Vaccines Generate More Than $30 Billion in 2021

hand applying coronavirus vaccine

The success of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 has become a cash cow for Modernathe Pfizer and BioNTech team and Johnson & Johnson. All three companies earned an approximate combined revenue of $31 billion in 2021.

This month, all three companies that have authorized vaccines available in the United States announced year-end financial results that show the massive earning power of these medications that have helped bring a quicker end to the global pandemic. Moderna achieved the highest earnings of $17.1 billion from its COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax. Johnson & Johnson earned just shy of $2 billion from global sales of its vaccine in 2021. Pfizer announced that its vaccine, Comirnaty, delivered more than $12 billion in revenue last year.

Each of the three companies anticipates even higher earnings from vaccine sales in 2022.

When Pfizer announced its 2021 earnings and 2022 projections earlier this month, the company said it anticipated the 2021 revenue from Comirnaty sales to nearly triple to $32 billion. In addition to that massive windfall from the vaccine, Pfizer also anticipates a whopping $22 billion from Paxlovid, the oral antiviral medication that received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna is also expecting its 2021 earnings for Spikevax to increase, although not as dramatically as Pfizer. In today's earnings report, Moderna said it anticipates revenue to spike to $19 billion based on advance purchase deals that the company signed. Moderna said that could increase to $22 billion based on some options for additional doses written into the contracts.

Moderna chief executive officer Stephane Bancel said this morning that the company delivered 807 million doses of Spikevax across the globe. Of those, about 25% went to low- and middle-income countries.

“Spikevax is now approved in more than 70 countries around the world protecting hundreds of millions of people and real-world evidence from multiple independent studies has confirmed its strong effectiveness,” Bancel said in a statement.

In 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech manufactured 3 billion doses of Comirnaty. “While Comirnaty is having a significant positive impact on Pfizer’s financial performance, it’s the tremendous impact that COVID-19 vaccines have had on society that is most important. In the U.S. alone, the COVID-19 vaccination program is estimated to have saved more than one million lives and prevented more than 10 million hospitalizations, according to a December 2021 Commonwealth Fund report,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said when his company announced their year-end report earlier this month.

Johnson & Johnson predicts that its COIVD-19 vaccine, which is not as widely used as the two mRNA vaccines, could generate between $3 billion and $3.5 billion in 2022. J&J’s vaccine momentum has taken a few hits over efficacy, with recommendations for booster doses called for as different strains appeared, including Delta and Omicron, as well as some safety concerns regarding blood clots. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended using the mRNA vaccines over J&Js due to those concerns.

A full breakdown comparing the vaccines can be found here, as BioSpace has kept a close eye on different medications. Included is also information about vaccines available outside the United States, including AstraZeneca’s vaccine and the Russian vaccine. 

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