As the vaccine campaign is well under way in critical markets, the perceived slow uptake of vaccines in several countries is in-line with our expectations of a broad access to the vaccine in mid-2021. This is mainly due to the high level of logistical barriers, unrealistic target expectations and limited vaccine supply. At the country level, the vaccination uptake also depends on the country’s willingness to engage in direct investment and advanced purchase agreements (APAs), as well as its ability to pay for the doses. Vaccine prices are a key component of the equation; and although price levels are often not disclosed, APAs – which are tracked in our weekly report – provide a useful estimate in terms of future vaccine pricing.

According to our Weekly COVID19 R&D Tracker, 17 vaccine candidates intended for COVID-19 are in Phase III development or approved. Given the urgency of the situation, approval processes have commonly been accelerated.

Approvals in major pharmaceutical markets (Australia, Canada, EU, US)

The below table provides approval dates for the three main vaccines in circulation in the US, Australia, Canada and EU.

Last week, a new entrant by Johnson & Johnson was approved in the US just as Canada announced the marketing authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

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Without surprise, the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are the ones who garnered the largest number of APAs worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic. AstraZeneca ranks at the top place in terms of number of doses ordered, closely followed by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which represents an important addition to the growing list of vaccines being distributed globally.

Vaccine pricing

Future vaccine pricing can be estimated by looking at the various APAs signed to date. Our data provides the order value of the APA and the number of doses ordered for 20 APAs. A selection for the United States is listed below.

For example, the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is sold on a non-profit basis, ranges in price per dose between USD0.82 in the UK, and about USD14.62 under the Australian deal. Meanwhile, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which is sold on a for-profit basis, is priced at USD19.50 per dose for the US market under the current APA. In comparison, mRNA-1273 is priced at around USD15.25 per dose under the APA with Moderna.

Of course, the eventual price levels may differ from the price level under APAs if and when the vaccines are fully approved. The Serum Institute of India, which will manufacture certain doses of AZD1222 (ChAdOx1 nCov-19) under contract with AstraZeneca, and NVX CoV2373 under contract with Novavax, has set a ceiling price for LMICs of USD3 per dose for future vaccines produced under these contracts. In Africa, an investigation by UK newspaper the Financial Times found that vaccines supplied will cost USD9.75 for Sputnik V, USD3 for AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 and for Novavax’s NVX-CoV2373 produced by SII, USD6.75 for Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine, and USD10 for Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.

These estimates highlight how COVID-19 vaccine prices vary between brands and countries. That said, final price levels may sometimes be very different from those anticipated, as exemplified by latest findings related to Russia’s Sputnik V – originally touted as a cheap alternative to Western vaccines – which suggest that the vaccine is in fact more expensive than rivals with similar efficacy.