In July 2020, the U.S. government ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s experimental BNT162b2 (now known as Comirnaty) messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 biologic for $1.95 billion, or $19.50 per dose. A few months later in December, it followed up with a second order for another 100 million doses of the shot for the same price.1 2
In August 2020, the government also ordered 100 million doses of Moderna/NIAID’s experimental mRNA-1273 (now known as Spikevax) mRNA COVID biologic for $1.53 billion, or just over $15 per dose. That same month, it also placed on order with Johnson & Johnson for 100 million doses of the experimental Ad26.CoV2.S COVID vaccine, produced by its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. That order was valued at about $1 billion, or approximately $10 per dose.3 4
In December 2020, the government ordered an additional 100 million doses of mRNA-1273 from Moderna for the same price as the initial 100-million-dose order for the shot. In February 2021, it exercised options to order 100 million more doses of mRNA-1273 and 100 million more doses of BNT162b2, for a total 300 million doses of each of those shots.5 6
In March 2021, the government ordered an additional 100 million doses of Ad26.CoV2.S—presumably for the same price as the first order 100-million-dose order for the shot.7
Note that these early purchases of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna/NIAID and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID shots by the U.S. government were made at a time when these pharmaceutical products were believed to be highly effective in preventing infection with SARS-CoV-2. The shots were widely touted as the answer to preventing the spread of the virus and ending the COVID pandemic.8 9 10 11 12
COVID Shots Do Not Prevent Infection and Transmission
By the summer of 2021, it was clear that the COVID shots were not effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections and that the public had been misled. In July 2021, there was a COVID outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts in which 74 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 and diagnosed with COVID were fully vaccinated.13
On Aug. 5, 2021, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD admitted that the COVID shots could not prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.14 She stated:
[W]ith the Delta variant we now see in our outbreak investigations that have been occurring over the last couple of weeks, in those outbreak investigations we have been seeing that if you happen to have one of those breakthrough infections that you can actually now pass it to somebody else.14
This was a watershed moment in the pandemic. It was right about then that it began to dawn on everybody that the COVID shots were not going to be the silver bullet public health officials held out as the solution to the problem and that COVID would likely be around much longer than most people were led to believe.
On Aug. 12, 2021, TIME magazine published an article titled “Why COVID-19 Might Be Here to Stay—And How We’ll Learn to Live With It”. A few days later, The Atlantic published an article titled “The Coronavirus Is Here Forever. This Is How We Live With It.”15 16
Faced with this new realization, the U.S. government, the manufacturers of the COVID shots and much of the medical profession embarked on an effort to weave a new narrative in favor of getting the shots. They argued that, although the shots were not very effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission, they were still useful in protecting people from becoming seriously ill with COVID and being hospitalized or dying. Of course, even that argument has proven to be deceptively bogus.17 18 19 20
Either way one looks at it, it is is hard not to conclude that the COVID shots have been a huge failure in terms of ending the COVID pandemic. The COVID shots are a defective product. In a free market economy, the tendency would be for people to gradually stop buying a product that does not work.
This seems to be what is happening with the “updated” COVID shots. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 18 percent of American adults have rolled up their sleeves to get the latest version of a COVID booster shot.21
There may be other reasons why so many Americans are now refusing to get more COVID shots, but the growing awareness that these products do not work so well logically must be one of them.
Pfizer and Moderna Aim to Quadruple Price of Their COVID Shots
In a free market economy, when sales of a product are declining (for whatever reason), the manufacturer will either remain content and doing nothing or decide to pull the product from the market. A third option, however, may be to come up with a new promotional strategy to try and increase sales. Often, this will include lowering the price of the product.
Interestingly, in the case of the COVID shots, notably the mRNA ones, the manufacturers have decided to increase the price. In fact, they’ve unashamedly decided to quadruple their prices to $110-130 per dose. Pfizer has been selling its bivalent Comirnaty shots for $30 per dose over the past year, while Moderna has been selling its bivalent Spikevax shots for $26 per dose. Remember, these prices are already significantly higher than the original prices of $19.50 and $15 respectively in 2020.22 23 24
Asked to explain the rationale for a 400 percent price hike of Spikevax, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said:
I would think this type of pricing is consistent with the value.23
A COVID shot that does not prevent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its transmission to others and does not necessarily protect a person from developing severe symptoms of COVID or being hospitalized and dying is “consistent with the value?” No, the planned massive price hikes for both Comirnaty and Spikevax have little or nothing to do with the value of the products. The price increases appear to have everything to do with the projected drop in sales revenue from these products for Pfizer and Moderna as more people come to understand the COVID shots are a lemon.
In 2022, Pfizer made nearly $57 billion from sales of Comirnaty and its COVID antiviral drug, Paxlovid. It expects these sales to plunge to $21.5 billion in 2023. Moderna made $18.4 billion from sales of Spikevax. It anticipates it may earn as little as $5 billion from Spikevax this year.23 25
What these pharmaceutical companies look like they are doing is gouging the consumers who remain extremely fearful of COVID and still cling to the faith that these “vaccines” are going to keep them safe. Even though this segment of the population is gradually dwindling, Pfizer and Moderna must think it is sizeable enough to sustain the kind of profit margins for Comirnaty and Spikevax they’ve grown used to in the past two years, which will go a long way toward buttressing corporate stock prices and keeping shareholders happy.
But only if they engage in price gouging.
This level of greed should come as no surprise to anyone, except those who naively thought this entire exercise has been about public health. It hasn’t. That was the sideshow. From the beginning, it has always been more about big profits for big business.
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1 Press Release. Pfizer and BioNTech Announce an Agreement with U.S. Government for up to 600 Million Doses of mRNA-based Vaccine Candidate Against SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer July 22, 2020.
2 Press Release. Pfizer and BioNTech to Supply the U.S. with 100 Million Additional Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine. Pfizer Dec. 23, 2022.
3 Mason J, O’Donnell C. U.S. inks $1.5 billion deal with Moderna for 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Reuters Aug. 11, 2020.
4 Higgins-Dunn N. Johnson & Johnson reaches deal with U.S. for 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine at more than $1 billion. CNBC Aug. 5, 2020.
5 Owermohle S. “I hope this marks the beginning of the end”. Politico Dec. 15, 2020.
6 Arthur R. US increases Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine orders. BioPharma-Reporter Feb. 15, 2021.
7 Rowland C, Stanley-Becker I. Biden orders 100 million more vaccine shots from Johnson & Johnson. The Washington Post Mar. 10, 2021.
8 Press Release. CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mar. 29, 2021.
9 Harmon GE. Vaccination is our best chance to end the pandemic. American Medical Association Jan. 4, 2022.
10 International Rescue Committee. The only way to stop COVID-19? Vaccines for all. Apr. 30, 2021.
11 Powell A. Fauci says herd immunity possible by fall, ‘normality’ by end of 2021. The Harvard Gazette Dec. 10, 2020.
12 Zhang S. The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight. The Atlantic Nov. 18, 2020.
13 TVR Staff. COVID Vaccines Not Proven to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Transmission. The Vaccine Reaction Aug. 9, 2021.
14 Cáceres M. COVID Vaccines No Longer Able to “Prevent Transmission” of SARS-CoV-2. The Vaccine Reaction Sept. 12, 2021.
15 Ducharme J. Why COVID-19 Might Be Here to Stay—And How We’ll Learn to Live With It. TIME Aug. 12, 2021.
16 Zhang S. The Coronavirus Is Here Forever. This Is How We Live With It. The Atlantic Aug. 17, 2021.
17 Cáceres M. Lots of Vaccinated, Boosted San Diegans Die from COVID. The Vaccine Reaction Sept. 5, 2022.
18 Cáceres M. Most Americans Dying of COVID Were Vaccinated. The Vaccine Reaction Nov. 29, 2022.
19 Cáceres M. Vaccinated Americans are Being Hospitalized for COVID and Dying. The Vaccine Reaction Aug. 15, 2021.
20 YouTube. Yes, Over 4,400 Fully Vaccinated People Have Been Hospitalized With COVID-19. The Vaccine Reaction July 12, 2021.
21 Smith-Schoenwalder C. Survey Finds Americans Still Don’t Know They’re Eligible for Updated COVID-19 Booster Shot. U.S. News & World Report Jan. 19, 2023.
22 Duneavy K. Pfizer eyes four-fold price hike for COVID vaccine in private US market. Fierce Pharma Oct. 21, 2022.
23 Mole B. Moderna CEO: 400% price hike on COVID vaccine “consistent with the value”. Ars Technica Jan. 10, 2023.
24 Phillips A. Pfizer and Moderna Quadrupling Price of COVID Vaccine Raises Concerns. Newsweek Jan. 31, 2023.
25 LaMonica PR. The Covid sales boom is over for Pfizer. CNN Jan. 31, 2023.